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Land for the Brave

Land for the Brave

Land for the Brave
Merja Iileka

THE nation waits with bated breath for Ombudsman John Walters to avail the full list of resettlement beneficiaries that was this week handed to him by the Ministry of Land Reform, following threats to take the matter to court.

At the time of writing this, Walters was still studying the list with no indication of the reveal date but a mere promise to make the list public once he is done scrutinizing it.

While some hope that there is nothing untoward contained in the list, the more skeptical, and, dare I say, the more realistic, are less optimistic, especially in the wake of rampant reports that several government officials had benefited from the program.

Land and resettlement farms have undoubtedly become a prized and unfairly distributed commodity in the country and I suspect this list will open a can of worms and will reveal what many of us already know.

What is clear to all of us for now is that the resettlement program, aimed at benefiting Namibian citizens who have been socially, economically or educationally disadvantaged by past discriminatory practices, has been used to benefit some politicians who believe they deserve and are entitled to more than the next person simply because they hold influence, or the right name, or proximity to power, or struggle credentials, or all four.

What we also know right now is that there were attempts by government to keep a tight lid on the country’s land resettlement process and the list of beneficiaries that should have been transparent and public to begin with.

Finally, we all know that land is a highly emotive subject the world over and has the potential to destabilize peace, and as such, should always be dealt with the utmost sensitivity.

Once the list has been made public, it will be the responsibility of every principled citizen that believes in good governance to study it closely and to report any discrepancies or possible corruption, if and when detected.

It will equally be an opportunity for government to regain the confidence of its people by taking appropriate action against all those who are found to have abused the trust of the people by using their office to enrich themselves and those closest to them.

There needs to be a zero tolerance policy for corruption and favoritism, and the damning revelations that will undoubtedly follow once the list has been made public might be the right place to start.

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