March 22, 2005

New cabinet in Windhoek as Pohamba warns of 'revolution' over land reform

President Hifikepunye Pohamba has warned that Namibia could face a "revolution" unless white farmers agreed to give up their land. Speaking at a farewell function at the Lands Ministry, Pohamba urged commercial farmers to take up Government's offer to buy their land. "Land expropriation does not mean confiscation, but means selling land to the government at fair prices as provided in the constitution and the relevant laws," Pohamba said, adding that to date "not a single farm has been expropriated". But he warned that the patience of the black population was running out. "We have a fear in the Swapo leadership that if we do not do something, there could be a revolution," Pohamba said. "The 'have-nots' could stand up and say: 'Enough is enough'. We as Swapo leaders could be overthrown, land could be confiscated and those people don't know then how to govern the country," Pohamba said. He asked landowners again to consider selling land to the government. "So let those who have land, sell a little land to Government at fair prices so that we have land to give to the landless people," he urged and added that he made that appeal on the last day in his position as Lands Minister.

In the meantime, President Pohamba has also announced his new Cabinet. He abolished seven ministries and one agency by merging some functions, and created 10 new ministries and agencies. Six ministries and one agency were also "reorganised". New Prime Minister will be Nahas Angula who had served since independence in various education-related portfolios. The re-structured Ministry of Education will now be headed by Nangolo Mbumba. As expected, former Deputy Prime Minister Hendrik Witbooi does not feature in the new Cabinet. Works Minister Moses Amweelo and Environment Minister Phillemon Malima will also not be returning as Ministers, Jerry Ekandjo moves from Home Affairs to the Ministry of Lands. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila remains Finance Minister. Furthermore, the first Foreign Affairs Minister, and second Prime Minister, of independent Namibia, Theo-Ben Gurirab, has become the country's second post-Independence Speaker of the National Assembly. In total, there are five women now in the cabinet, one more than so far. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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