Namibian workers 'to seize' land from white farmers

Civic groups in Namibia are opposing planned seizures of white-owned farms by poor blacks, saying the move would plunge the southern African country into the same chaos that has ruined nearby Zimbabwe.

The Namibia Farmworkers Union, which has support from landless blacks, farm labourers and the Namibian government, has announced that its members will start forcibly taking over 15 farms next week.

The union said its aim was to ensure livelihoods for landless blacks, including the farm labourers it alleges have been mistreated and evicted from white-owned commercial farms.

But the National Society for Human Rights, a coalition of civic groups, yesterday strongly condemned the proposed land occupation, saying it would do to Namibia what it had done to Zimbabwe.

Alarmed white farmers represented by the Namibia Agricultural Union called on the authorities to protect privately owned land and warned that the action may have devastating economic consequences.

The human rights coalition said it "does not support any unconstitutional and unlawful takeover of any commercial or communal farms, regardless of the colour and or political affiliation of the farm owners. If allowed to stand, the proposed invasion could become a most serious setback for the relative peace and tranquillity which this country has enjoyed since independence in 1990."

It urged Namibian President Sam Nujoma, a close ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, to condemn the planned invasions. But Mr Nujoma had not done so by yesterday. Junior members of the Namibian government have condemned the plans but are powerless to stop them if approved by their authoritarian leader.

Mr Nujoma has said African land must go back to its rightful owners - black people. He has warned white Namibian farmers that they risk facing the same fate as their Zimbabwean counterparts unless they give up their land.

Mr Nujoma and Mr Mugabe ambushed Tony Blair at the United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg last year where the Namibian leader launched a broadside against Mr Blair accusing him of protecting a few white "imperialists and colonisers" in Zimbabwe at the expense of the country's 14 million people who did not control their land. Mr Mugabe also delivered a scathing attack in which he told Mr Blair to "keep your little England and I will keep my Zimbabwe" to massive applause.

If Mr Nujoma's silence is tacit approval of the planned seizures, then his country will become only the second in Africa to emulate Mr Mugabe's policies that have ruined a once prosperous nation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • 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

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Ashdown Group: Accountant - London - £48,000 - 12 month FTC

£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: International Acc...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power