Mugabe aiding Namibia land grab

Namibia has enlisted the help of Robert Mugabe's land "experts" as it intensifies its own land seizure programme. The news has further unsettled the white farmers and severely dented investor confidence in southern Africa.

Namibia has enlisted the help of Robert Mugabe's land "experts" as it intensifies its own land seizure programme. The news has further unsettled the white farmers and severely dented investor confidence in southern Africa.

Namibia's President Sam Nujoma is a staunch ally of Mr Mugabe, perhaps his only one after Libyan leader Mummar Gaddafi cut off fuel supplies to Zimbabwe last year because of bad debts. Col Gaddafi called Mr Mugabe a "bad customer".

Seemingly following his hero's example, Mr Nujoma ordered eight large scale commercial farms to be seized for black resettlement last month.

He then signed a memorandum of understanding with Mr Mugabe which will see six Zimbabwean land evaluators being deployed to Windhoek tomorrow to advise on Namibia's expropriation drive.

This latest development has alarmed Namibian farmers, particularly since Zimbabwe's land reforms have been condemned by the United Nations and cited by some as the best example of how not to conduct such a programme.

"It is a big joke that any self respecting government could ever want to learn anything from Zimbabwe," said a Namibian farmer, who wished to remain anonymous. "It's hard to imagine what helpful advice we will get from Mr Mugabe's men to enhance the land reform experience here."

Namibia's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ndali-Che Kamati, was quoted by the official Herald newspaper as saying that, apart from evaluating seized farms for the purposes of paying compensation, the Zimbabwean team would also offer training services.

Mr Kamati said: "We need expertise to help us determine the level of compensation we will pay for the farms that we have acquired. In this regard, we believe Zimbabwean professionals can really help us with issues of compensation."

Zimbabwe, unlike Namibia, has refused to pay compensation for any of the land seized from farmers on the grounds that it was stolen from its rightful owners.

Zimbabwe said it would only pay compensation for such improvements as houses and boreholes, although most farmers whose land has been seized have not received a penny.

Others who had started moving their equipment off the land to stop it from being stolen or looted by government supporters were stopped by a new law that was brought in, banning the removal of equipment from seized farms.

The requirement to serve legal notices on farmers before seizures has also been rescinded, which means that an announcement in the government gazette is now sufficient for seizure to take place. The Namibian Agricultural Union (NAU) says it is doing all it can to persuade President Nujoma's government to introduce just and sustainable land reforms in the country.

About 75 per cent of prime farm land in Namibia is white owned, and there is almost universal African consensus that the country, a former German colony of about 1.8 million people, needs land reform to redress imbalances created by colonial era dispossessions.

But civic groups in Namibia have warned against Zimbabwe- style methods, which have destroyed its country's agriculture and reduced it to the status of beggar nation.

However, with an election due next year, Namibia's white farmers fear that Mr Nujoma's ruling Swapo party might resort to the populist methods that have been pioneered by Mr Mugabe in Zimbabwe. Indeed, Mr Nujoma hinted this week that he might change the constitution to seek an illegal fourth term in office, just as he did in 1999 when he defied a constitutional provision on two term limits to run for an illegal third term.

He has already started building a new presidential house, said to be worth £15m, showing he plans to stick around for a while longer yet.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
Life and Style
tech

Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

Extras
indybest
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Langley James : Web Developer; PHP, MySQL, Java; Blackfriars; £25k

£25000 per annum + training: Langley James : Web Developer; PHP, MySQL, Java; ...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

£40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?