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Namibia - Farmers Fear Zim Scenario
The Namibian ^ | March 16, 2004 | Christof Maletsky

Posted on 03/18/2004 1:33:25 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe

NAMIBIAN commercial farmers fear that Government's programme on land expropriation will go the Zimbabwean way.

Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) President Jan de Wet says farmers are full of anxiety, desperation, helplessness and fear about the right to possess land in the country.

In a statement issued after a special NAU Executive Council meeting on Friday, De Wet says NAU members fear a loss of income, labour unrest and job losses, while others feel Government is looking for someone to blame.

He says farmers have decided to change the way they handle labour disputes and will try to avoid going to court.

In addition, NAU will soon set up a fund to protect the interest of its members.

Last week, a group of farmers launched the Namibian Farmers' Support Initiative (NFSI) that aims to defend the rights of commercial farmers.

The NFSI will collect funds for possible court battles and launch a publicity campaign to counter statements and perceptions of the white farmer as an unfair employer and unpatriotic citizen.

It will operate parallel to the mainly white NAU.

The Namibia Farmworkers Union charges that the support initiative is a clear act of provocation against indigenous Namibians.

Farmer Lobbies On Collision Course - The Namibian (Windhoek) March 18, 2004

Tangeni Amupadhi

NAMIBIA'S white farmers are on a collision course on the strategy to use in the national land reform programme following a Government announcement that it will expropriate farms.

A group of farmers leading an aggressive campaign yesterday criticised the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) as too lame in protecting their interests.

But NAU president Jan De Wet was insistent that his organisation had no reason to change its strategy and that those who were unhappy "can resign and join other people".

Farmers Joachim Schiffer, Sigi Eimbeck and Holger Sircoulomb yesterday addressed a press conference challenging farmers not to shy away from controversy and to avoid being "apathetic".

The three are leading attempts to form the Namibian Farmers Support Initiative (NFSI) that would be used to spearhead campaigns against what he called "lies" by some politicians in handling land reform.

The NFSI also intends to set up a legal aid fund for farmers who would take up cases that would normally be too expensive to pursue.

"We are seeing how, especially the commercial farms, are being targeted for political expediency," said Eimbeck.

"If you sit back and let a few agitators... say what they want, they get a chance to be heard."

He said the NAU seemed unable to act strongly because "they want to have good relations with the Government".

De Wet said: "We have our policy, how we address the situation, and we are not going to deviate from that. I do not think there's any need to deviate from the policy of consultation [and instead] adopt that of confrontation."

Eimbeck said the NFSI, which they plan to launch by May, would work parallel to NAU, but did not want to be restricted to the programme of the older organisation.

De Wet, who said NAU was not against the new group, said they would not support the NFSI fund because they could not control nor manage it fully.

Since the announcement about expropriation, the NAU had set up its own fund to look after the interests of the farmers, said De Wet.

The NAU president said the fund would be used to help farmers determine prices or negotiate the terms of expropriation.

Unlike the NFSI, however, De Wet said the NAU fund would not be used for litigation.

The closest it would come to a court would be when a dispute needed to go for arbitration.

Eimbeck said farmers needed to support one another in order to fend off what he termed "intimidation, victimisation".

He said politicians were telling lies when they said many Namibian farmworkers had been evicted.

Eimbeck claimed there had been 13 evictions in three instances; that most of the arable land was, in fact, the communal area; and that land reform was progressing fast.

Yet, "little men with big mouths" were instigating the masses against white farmers.

"This is a racial thing and we cannot tolerate it. We are white people but we want to participate in the economy. We cannot let Namibia slide down the same drain as a lot of African countries have [and] as Zimbabwe has recently done."

Eimbeck said the NFSI was not against land reform or expropriation but felt Government was basing it on the wrong premise.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; africawatch; namibia

1 posted on 03/18/2004 1:33:25 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Ironfocus
namibia ping
2 posted on 03/18/2004 1:42:54 PM PST by cyborg (In die begin het God die hemel en die aarde geskape.)
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To: Clive
3 posted on 03/18/2004 4:36:45 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: Libertarianize the GOP; *AfricaWatch; blam; Cincinatus' Wife; sarcasm; Travis McGee; happygrl; ...
4 posted on 03/19/2004 3:50:48 AM PST by Clive
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To: Clive
5 posted on 03/20/2004 12:23:32 PM PST by Dante3
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