Friday, April 28, 2017

Namibia to Emulate Zimbabwe on Land
Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Zimbabwe Chronicle

Visiting Namibian President Hage Geingob has said he will use the opportunity to learn how to embark on an agrarian revolution, following Zimbabwe’s successful land reform programme.

He said Namibia would convene a second land conference in September to discuss with whites who own vast tracts of land how they could share it with the black majority, most of whom were still poor 27 years after his country got independence.

President Geingob said this on Wednesday evening during a State banquet held for him by President Mugabe at State House ahead of the official opening of the 2017 edition of Zimbabwe International Trade Fair today in Bulawayo.

The Namibian President will officially open the trade fair.

Namibia held its first land conference after independence in 1991 to deal with the challenges of accessibility to commercial land and protect farm workers from exploitation.

President Geingob said Namibian founding President Sam Nujoma brought independence, peace and reconciliation, while his predecessor Hifikepunye Pohamba continued the legacy.

He said the two’s actions stabilised the country, now expectations were for him to address the land issue.

“So, I am now saying I am in a difficult situation,” said President Geingob. “And now Hage (Geingob, Namibians say), now you must deliver, very tall order, it is unfair actually.

“I have to deliver the land, prosperity, it is a tall order. So, I came here to get advice because indeed I said this (President Mugabe) is my mentor.

“We cannot hide from this issue. We can’t hide away from it. We can’t hide away from the fact that some people are still left out after 27 years of independence.”

President Geingob likened Zimbabwe’s land reform to a caesarean section which was painful, but bore fruits.

“In my thesis a long time ago, I said in Zimbabwe my brothers there had a caesarean section to deliver a baby,” he said. “Cesarean section could be very painful, but they used that and I was saying when the pain stops you will deliver a healthy baby.  We are already seeing the signs of that. I am told you are going to have a bumper harvest this year. The signs are already beginning to show.”

President Geingob hailed President Mugabe for pardoning Ian Smith after independence, despite being imprisoned for 10 years.

“He reconciled with General (Peter) Walls,” he said. “Ian Smith’s farm was not taken. He went on his own. So, when I talk of reconciliation I put it into context, that the first reconciliatory coming from an ugly war was Cde Mugabe.

“He tolerated for 10 years, the Lancaster House Agreement. He was kind to wait because he knew that there were two countries under colonialism, Namibia and South Africa.”

President Geingob said there was a lot to learn from President Mugabe.

“It is very difficult for us, young ones, to stand and share the platform with icons of our revolution,” he said. “I never thought that the day will come when I will become President and stand at the same floor with people who were our mentors, people whom we were admiring, who were leading us, but here I am, to be here and to be welcomed by you Your Excellency.”

In his speech earlier on, President Mugabe urged Namibia and Zimbabwe to ensure the implementation of the cooperating agreements in the areas of energy, transport, human resources development.

He described the power purchase agreement between Zesa Holdings and Namibia’s power utility, Nampower, as a torch bearer. “I urge our ministers and officials to ensure that the signed agreements are implemented fully, so that they do not gather dust on our shelves,” said President Mugabe
On Wednesday, the two countries signed three memoranda of understanding in the areas of women, gender and community development, health and sport and recreation.

President Mugabe hailed the good bilateral relations that exist between the two countries.

“Like our Namibian brothers and sisters, we share the conviction that, given that dear price that was paid to make us free and independent, the values for which we fought, must never be compromised,” he said.

“The enemy we defeated mutates in various forms and we should never lose our guard.”

President Mugabe commended Namibia for the donation of canned fish and medication following the devastating floods caused by cyclone Deneo.

“Zimbabwe will, Your Excellency, be eternally grateful for that gesture, especially considering that your country was facing similar challenges caused by floods,” he said. “Namibia has proved to be our very good friend indeed.”

The banquet was attended by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, several Government Ministers, Zanu-PF Politburo members, service chiefs and diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe.

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