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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own