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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot