Swakopmund Land Invasion Reaches Cul-de-sac

LandInvasionThe land invaders at Swakopmund have changed their minds and will now follow the legal procedure to obtain land as op- posed to seizing and erecting structures on it. Godhardt Kandume, the leader of about 600 persons who invaded munici- pal land here in December last year, ad- mitted to Nampa on Sunday that they would no longer continue with the illegal occupation of land.

The unserviced land is located between the Hanganeni and DRC in- formal settlements in the eastern part of Swakop mund. “We have professionally resolved the matter with the municipality and agreed that our people will get land through the legal process of applying,” said Kandume.

Kandume said the municipality informed him that there is already 11 000 people who applied for land at the town and his group cannot be favoured and obtain land without applying because either way, they will just become part of the waiting list.

Approached for comment, Swakopmund Mayor Juuso Kambueshe confirmed that Kandume agreed not to continue with the illegal land occupation. “He promised that he will not continue with the illegal route of grab- bing land anymore and that those who need land will apply.

He alleges that there are some people who ap- plied before but did not get a response. We are waiting for proof on that matter so that we can rectify the situation,” said the town mayor.

Their attempt to erect shacks on the land  on St Valentine’s Day last month, backfired as the police arrested Kandume and his ally Engelhardt /Uirab before dismantling the erected structures.    Kandume and /Uirab were questioned and released the same day, after which  they met with the municipality in an attempt to reach an agreement on applying for land. Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Inspector Erick Nghaamwa, the Station Commander for the Mondesa residential area, said trespassing charges were laid against Kandume and /Uirab when they first marked off the plots in December last year.

“The docket dealing with Kan- dume and /Uirab’s charges was referred to the public prosecutor for  a  decision  to  prosecute  or not,” Nghaamwa told Nampa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, now that their land issue has reached this point, Kandume took the opportunity and turned his attention to the much criticised 10 000 hectares allo- cated to the N$1 billion worth to bacco plantation in Liselo of the Zambezi Region.

A Chinese company, Namibia Oriental Tobacco CC, plans to grow tobacco and maize on the land. Zambezi Region Governor Lawrence Sampofu confirmed to a local daily newspaper that the project has been given the green light.

“We support development projects in this country but if Chinese can get such land when our people has nothing then it is a problem. We are only more than two million in Namibia, so there is no excuse for us not to have land for everyone,” said Kandume.

He warned that Government must find a quick way of resolv- ing the land issue before things go wrong. “Land has caused war in many African countries  and if our Government is not acting on this land problem, we might experience war very soon,” he said.

Kandume is not alone in the struggle for land in Namibia, as about 35 000 Namibians submitted their documents to municipal authorities  around  the  country in a mass land application under the Affirmative Repositioning campaign earlier this month. Suspended Swapo Party Youth League leaders and land activists Job Amupanda and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma are spearheading  the campaign that has amplified the Namibian citizens’ cry for land. NAMPA