Alvenus F. Dreyer
Learning from the media that Namibia’s fine-tuned resettlement policy will be ready by mid-2022 has revived new hopes and expectations.
According to this particular policy – which is currently under review – its purpose is to take corrective action.
A corrective action is an action to resolve existing nonconformities and prevent their recurrence. Simply put, it’s about fixing something that’s wrong.
Given the many protests by landless citizens over the years, it is quite evident that there are wrongs in Namibia’s land distribution processes.
Land is a key economic resource inextricably linked to access, use and control of other natural resources, and this is essential for achieving sustainable social and economic development.
The national resettlement program aimed to acquire 30 million hectares of agricultural land by 2025. So far, less than 10 million have been acquired.
This rather slow and/or inefficient acquisition of farmland, mainly driven by the concept of willing buyer, willing seller and high land prices, makes the redistribution of farmland difficult.
However, the skewed resettlement process also continues to couple the willing buyer and willing seller system, placing the majority of previously disadvantaged Namibians on the periphery of extreme poverty and destitution.
It remains to be seen whether the polished politics is really serious about honoring the bravery and steadfastness of Namibia’s ancestors, who fought tooth and nail for the land of indigenous communities.
If the Refined Policy is serious about restoring the dignity, pride and socio-economic well-being of previously disadvantaged and oppressed Namibians, then this Refined Policy will remove self-serving, mafia-style capitalist clauses such as means testing and the willing buyer. voluntary seller.
Just as we look forward to the refined resettlement policy, we also look forward to receiving the findings of the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission inquiry.
Perhaps on an advisory note, let us use Vision 2030 as a target year in which we can, in all honesty and transparency, have evidence-based facts and figures regarding the resolution of Namibia’s land issues, in particular the biased resettlement program.
Let the refined resettlement policy respond to the calls and cries for a truly comprehensive, transparent and justifiable redistribution of the over 20 million hectares of remaining agricultural land in Namibia.
*Alvenus F. Dreyer is a social and economic justice advocate, born and raised in Namibia.