‘Constitution stands in way of land reform’

Which comes first, the constitution or the people?

By Nkrumah Mushelenga

FROM the look of things, the men, women, and children of this country, are the custodians of the constitution and the land of brave.

3.2 Chapter 1 Article 1 is about the establishment of the Republic of Namibia. In line with the wishes and aspirations of the Namibian people, the Republic of Namibia, is a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary state founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all.

The issue here is that, justice for all cannot be realised in full, if and when the majority of the people in this country are swimming in the pool of poverty while a small population is spinning in a fountain of fortune. The war for national liberation was a just war against illegal land occupation and its natural economic resources.

4. Law: (noun): According to Cambridge advanced learner’s dictionary:

law – Rule, usually made by a government that is used to order the way in which a society behaves.

4.1 Natural law:

– a law found in nature and not involving anything made or done by people.

4.2 The critical question is what is the rationale for legislators to produce or make laws?

To order the way in which a society should behave: also, in the name of protecting the society while such a law can be perceived to subject the poor community to poverty through needless adopted restrictions, hence a constitutional provision on “amendment or referendum”.

1. Land: (noun) means

the surface of the earth that is not covered by water.

an area of ground, especially when used for a particularly purpose such as farming or building.

2. People: plural (noun)

Men, women and children.

For a better communication strategy, let me use comparative analysis between the size of the land of this country Namibia, as compared to the size of the population.

Land: 824 292 km square.

Population: 2 587 344

The land question in Namibia has become a crisis because the system has privatised and commercialised land acquisition thus, contradicting Chapter 3 Article 6.16 read with Chapter 11 Article 95, (h), (i) and (j) of the constitution of Namibia.

Namibian compatriots, permit me to quote Article 6 of the constitution of Namibia.

The right to life shall be respected and protected.

No law may prescribe death as a competent sentence.

No Court or Tribunal shall have the power to impose a sentence of death upon any person.

No executions shall take place in Namibia.

‘We have heard you’. 

But the burning question is, what about death due to poverty? Or lack of nutritious food products or absence of clean public health facilities? Or due to cold weather because of the lack of shelter? Or because his or her right to acquire land has been ignored or neglected?

Land in Namibia has become a humanitarian crisis as a result of the 1884 Berlin Conference, land commercialisation, the ongoing land grabbing in the country, including uncontrolled land prices through the willing seller willing buyer concept which should serve as a case in point. The current system is perceived by all as promoting poverty as opposed to reducing poverty. It is promoting landlessness as opposed to fast tracking land acquisition. Many heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle who died during the 30 years of independence passed on without acquiring land for resettlement to be bequeathed to their heirs (children, spouses, or immediate family). They were and are currently being left in a pool of poverty. Remember land is livelihood, remember land is fortune.

Namibian men and women, the liberation struggle for land in this country is not a one-man show, neither is it a one-woman show. The battle to liberate land is linked to wealth and it is going to be more bitter than the struggle for national political independence.


Fast-tracking of acquisition of land for shelter and household needs;

Agri-bank to come up with rural areas seasonal food production commercial funding projects;

Parliament to table a motion to harmonise gaps emanating from different interpretations of Chapter 3 Article 5, 6,and 16 of the constitution of Namibia;

Cabinet to review land conference resolutions and formulate a policy to abolish willing seller willing buyer concept;

Cabinet to hold on or reduce the current speed of declaring rural areas as settlements;

The Speaker of Parliament should table a motion to depoliticise land questions because land is part of Chapter 3 Articles 5, 6 and 16 read with Chapter 11 Articles (95), (h), (I) and (j);

Introduce implementable one-person one-farm policy;

Reduce the structures leading to land acquisition, they are unnecessarily time consuming.

May God bless Namibia, the land of the brave.

* Nkrumah Mushelenga is a Rt. Commissioner for Refugees, former Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association National Coordinator, and the founder and trustee of Peter Nanyemba ex-PLAN Combatant Veterans Trust (p.n.p.c.v. t.)