10. February 2017

Swartbooi unfazed by any Swapo disciplinary action

SWAPO parliamentarian Bernadus Swartbooi says he is not pertubed on how the party will react to his demand for ancestral land he made last Saturday. Swartbooi was responding to comments by the party's secretary general Nangolo Mbumba on Monday that Swapo was analysing the statements made at Keetmanshoop.

Mbumba on Tuesday declined to comment further, only saying “we are organising our thoughts” before he cut the cellphone conversation. “I'll be waiting ... nothing I did or said affects any political party negatively,” Swartbooi said, adding that he did not contravene any substantive party law to warrant disciplinary action. However, Swartbooi, a lawyer by profession, said due processes should be followed if he has to be disciplined.

“I hope the party has learnt from the Affirmative Repositioning saga,” he added. In 2015, Swapo's central committee, on recommendations of the party's politburo, expelled former youth league secretary Elijah Ngurare and Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma, leaders of the AR movement which advocated urban and rural land delivery. But the High Court declared their expulsion and suspension from the ruling party unlawful.

Swartbooi, who was recently axed by President Hage Geingob as land reform deputy minister for defying his order to publicly apologise for comments against minister Utoni Nujoma regarding skewed land distribution in the country, said he will challenge any punitive measures the party might take against him if due processes are not followed.

At last Saturday's meeting, Swartbooi called for the return of ancestral land to the San, Damara, Herero and Nama minority groups whose land was forcibly taken away from them during colonisation by German and apartheid South African regimes. “We say Mr Geingob (President Hage Geingob), give us back our land. For Mr Geingob, we are hungry and we are thirsty. As land-dispossessed citizens, we demand our ancestral land,” Swartbooi said. “We have suffered too long. We want to live well in the land of our ancestors. What is the crime in this simple call?”

At the same meeting, Ida Hoffman claimed that “people were transported in yellow and orange buses” to take the jobs of southerners. Hoffman, who is also the chairperson of the Nama Genocide Technical Committee, said the issues of ancestral land and atrocities committed by the colonial German regime on Namas and Hereros are inseparable.

Hoffman could not be reached for comment as she did not answer her cellphone or respond to text messages. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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