Is Itula’s white supremacy agenda not just an election ploy?
INDEPENDENT Patriots for Change leader Panduleni Itula’s blatant disregard of ancestral land does not only fly in the face of historical racial imbalance but also fails to acknowledge the past injustices that have tilted the economic pendulum of the black majority.
Remarks on Saturday in which he said he does not understand why some politicians keep trying to mislead people with “unfounded assumptions” that there is ancestral land to be claimed, are unfortunate, regrettable and appear to reinforce white supremacy.
Itula’s view thrives to promote the over-concentration of land in a few white and commercial entities while excluding indigenous Namibians from owning land.
His stance in promoting white supremacy is astonishing, particularly after he branded the Health Professions Council of Namibia as “racist” and discriminatory when it barred him to register as a dental specialist.
About 12 years ago when Itula vented his fury at the council, which he accused of suffering from colonial hangover, he was obviously calling for a racial redressing of white monopoly in the health profession, just like in any other socio-economic sector of our society.
Itula’s sudden change in stance on redressing past economic imbalances is amazing because he painted all white Namibian health professionals with the same brush, alleging that blacks with British qualifications were subjected to humiliating delaying tactics in getting registered, while white Namibians who obtained similar qualifications from South Africa were registered without delay.
His current stance on maintaining white supremacy is not clear whether there is a genuine paradigm shift of his view of 12 years ago that “this colonial hangover” was depicted in all health professional sectors or whether it is just political bait to lure political sympathy from the white electorate.
His political standpoint of 12 years ago, that the health council needed serious transformation because it suffered from a “colonial hangover” does not seem to be consistent with his resistance against New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEF).
Campaigning during the local and regional authority, Itula vowed to fight against NEEF, which clearly contradicts his fury at black discrimination, 12 years ago.
His weird claim that the existence of ancestral land in various parts of Namibia, which was dispossessed from the indigenous people, especially during the German (1884-1915) and South African (1915-1990) colonial periods is a reality that helps to explain the gross inequality we inherited from the apartheid regime in which 70 percent of the economy is virtually in the hands of the previously advantaged social groups.
When IPC falls short in recognising the country’s indigenous people and marginalised communities’ claims to ancestral land rights, it underlines their lack of interest to help indigenous people to assert their ancestral land rights.
Their forced removal from Etosha National Park (ENP) in the 1950s under the then-apartheid South African Administration, without any form of compensation, is not a distant historical grievance – on the contrary, it is still fresh in the minds of many of their community members. The Hai||om’s religious and spiritual beliefs are connected to Etosha’s landscape and fauna, and the spirits of those who have passed away remain with and around them.
Today, as a direct result of their mass removal, many Hai||om live in poverty, disconnected from their homes, families and culture.
We can never forgo this reality which came as a result of draconian laws that were coined to create gross economic disadvantages for the black majority who are, today are reeling from acute poverty and dismal inequality.
We are reminded of the German Land Expropriation Orders, 1905; Creation of the German Police Zone; Native Trust and Land Act, 1913 and the Odendaal Plan, 1963.
For Itula to ask the electorate to turn a blind eye on these hideous acts including the dispossession from their land, of the Ovaherero, Nama and Damara communities in central and southern parts of Namibia by the German colonial government preceding and following the 1904-1908 genocide undermines logic.
His appeasement policy is clearly a temporary bait to attract white voters but does he really intend to ignore the past economic injustices in his ambitions to gain political control?
Politicians like Itula must not be driven by capitalist ideals at the expense of the very masses that they seek votes from. Failure to recognise the one thing that can bring parity in our unequal society is testament of a mindset that is still incarcerated in the colonial realms.