Rehoboth Basters: UPM Vice-President Urges Namibian President to Fulfil his Promises
Photo courtesy of New Era
On 24 May 2017, Piet Junius, Vice-President of the United People’s Movement of Namibia (UPM), met with Namibian President Hage Geingob and demanded that he fulfils the promise of taking care of the Baster community he made to the Captains Council in the 1990s, when he was Prime Minister. During this meeting, Junius also voiced his concern over questions such as the lack of affordable housing, evictions and food security. Moreover, he brought up the situation of traditional authorities in the country, some of whom are sidelined when it comes to consultation on national issues, but also excluded from decision-making processes concerning their areas of jurisdiction.
The article below was published by New Era:
The United People’s Movement of Namibia (UPM) vice-president Piet Junius wants President Hage Geingob to implement the “promise” he made in 1992 during a meeting with the late Kaptein Hans Diergaardt.
Junius made the demand during a meeting with Geingob at State House on Wednesday. He said members of the Rehoboth Baster Gemeente still await the promised implementation and Geingob is now in a position to live up to the promise.
According to Junius, when Geingob was prime minister he promised Diergaardt he would take care of the Baster community, a promise that, according him, has yet to be fulfilled. Junius was accompanied by a delegation of UPM key party members that included UPM president Willem van Wyk and party secretary general Thelma Kunze.
Responding to Junius, Geingob said he had not changed his promise and was still fighting for the promise he made then.
“I didn’t change anything – even today, that’s what I am preaching for, I got the Harambee, and I said let’s hold hands and pull in the same direction, I am still fighting for that,” he assured the UPM leadership.
Junius also expressed concern over the plight of traditional authorities, the lack of affordable urban land and housing, the eviction of people in urban land, the Estate Amendment Act, the resettlement programme, the Veterans Act, food security, corruption at regional and local authorities and the issue of sanitation.
He asked Geingob to look at the plight of traditional authorities as a matter of urgency, saying it is common knowledge that traditional authorities are not regarded as important, except during elections.
“The small allocation to traditional authorities from the national budget is of great concern,” he said, adding that the UPM has noticed with great concern the treatment of traditional authorities not recognised by the government.
He said some traditional authorities are sidelined when it comes to consultation on national issues and when decisions concerning development in their areas of jurisdiction are taken. Geingob said: “I am not a traditionalist and it’s a thing I’ve outgrown long time ago and I even told comrade Jerry Ekandjo in 1990 that we are creating a monster we will all live to regret.”
“Ten percent of government time is currently occupied by traditional problems of infighting among themselves, from the north to the east, from the east to the west – from west to the south traditional leaders are fighting among themselves, why is this happening?” questioned Geingob.
“When we are creating a nation, tribes must die, Julius Nyerere said. To create Namibia we said Bantustans must die. The struggle was against Bantustans, against division of our people,” he said, adding he believes in one Namibia, one nation.