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‘Leadership failure behind land grabs’

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UNITED Democratic Front (UDF) president Apius !Auchab says Namibian leaders have failed when it comes to providing land to citizens.

!Auchab told The Namibian that although Namibia’s struggle for liberation was about land, previously marginalised groups don’t have access to land, 31 years after independence.

He said even if land is not given free, it must at least be affordable.

“It’s impossible for Namibians to afford land. There is something wrong with [our] leadership,” he said.

The “Willing buyer, Willing seller” policy is acceptable, however, ordinary Namibians cannot afford the land, he said.

“Namibians who become poor due oppression will never get land. The only place they will call their land is their graves,” said !Auchab who added that even graves are unaffordable to most Namibians.

He advised local authorities to hold discussions on making land more affordable to the people.

“Trusted leaders are in power, put there by the people, and those who occupy positions of power should see how best people can afford the land,” he emphasised.

“Let’s not say it (land grabbing) is illegal and blame the people. Why can’t the people get land! Why can’t they afford it?”

!Auchab said people have waited for years for land and when nothing happened they took the land.

Land grabbing should be seen as a demand by the country’s citizens, and plans should be made to make land affordable.

“If the majority don’t have land, this will be problematic for the government. How come leaders lead a country were the majority of its people are landless.”

He blasted the police for their heavy-handed tactics in Windhoek recently. “We said it was wrong for people to be mistreated during apartheid, but we are doing the same thing. Slapping people and breaking down houses,”.

“The police’s approach and treatment of people are wrong. It’s like apartheid,” he fumed.

Police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga has blamed City of Windhoek councillors for the various land invasions around the capital that have been ongoing for the past month, accusing them of only being there to collect their salaries.

Ndeitunga threatened that the police would take over the council if councillors were not careful. The police chief was speaking durin a police operation to pull down shacks in the informal settlement of Otjomuise, AgsteLaan and Babylon.

Recently deputy mayor of Windhoek Clemensia Hanases said in a Kaisames Radio interview that some land invaders arrived in luxury cars from affluent areas, while others were police officers.

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