The Namibian government has announced that it is in talks with the attorney general over the introduction of new laws on the expropriation of land after the “willing buyer, willing seller” policy proved “ineffective”.
The Namibian reported that Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma had said he was holding ongoing meetings with the attorney general regarding the issue.
The announcement followed concerns raised by farmers over outdated legislation that does little to benefit them.
Statistics released by Farmer’s Weekly showed that, as of last year, only 27% of the total agricultural land in Namibia had been successfully redistributed to those who were previously disadvantaged; 43% of the total agricultural land had been allocated for redistribution and another 16%, or 5.6 million hectares, had yet to be successfully redistributed.
Speaking during a meeting of the Namibia National Farmer’s Union and President Hage Geingob, Nujoma disclosed that the government was considering amending the Communal Land Reform Act of 2000 and the Commercial Land Reform Act of 2005.
Geingob urged farmers to work with the government to address issues affecting them.
Thirty years before Adolf Hitler seized power as Germany’s chancellor, German soldiers murdered up to 105,000 Herero and Namaqua tribemembers in its Southwest Africa colony, now the state of Namibia.
While the final number of deaths was far less than the victims of the Nazi war machine, the genocide in Namibia featured some startling similarities with the WWII tragedy: the application of scientific theories of racial superiority, the formation of concentration camps; the meticulous recording of details of the mass killings; the need for “lebensraum” (living space) for the German people; demand for reparations; and a lengthy silence over German complicity in such crimes.
It was not until 2004 (a century after the massacre) that Germany formally apologized for the atrocity.
At a commemoration in the Namibian city of Okokarara, Germany’s Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, stated: We Germans accept our historic and moral responsibility and the guilt incurred by Germans at that time. Germany has learnt the bitter lessons of the past.
She characterized the killings in Namibia as a “genocide.”
She also said her government agreed to provide Namibia with economic aid amounting to about $14-million annually (descendants of the murder victims reportedly demanded $4-billion in compensation).