1 000+ in land grab in Namibia

2014-12-18 21:02
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Windhoek - Over a thousand people illegally occupied land in Namibia's coastal town of Swakopmund on Wednesday, saying they had grown tired of waiting for the government to give them plots to live on.

The land grab comes weeks after the ruling South West Africa People's Organisation (Swapo) won national elections with an overwhelming 80% of the vote.

A politician leading the group said the people were demanding Swapo make good on campaign promises.

"We are tired," said Gotthardt Kandume of the Christian Democratic Voice (CDV). "We also want to sleep peacefully with our wives in good structures."

He told AFP the people were desperate for land and that over 5 000 had added their names to a list requesting areas be attributed to them by the local municipality.

The land they occupied is earmarked for low-cost housing, but has remained vacant for several years.

The occupiers on Thursday demanded a meeting with current Prime Minister and President-elect Hage Geingob, who won the presidential election by a landslide last month.

The governor of the region, Cleophas Mutjavikua, told AFP said the group was just vying for publicity.

"Let them grab and they will see what will happen to them," Mutjavikua said.

Illegal land occupations in the southern African country are not common. They recently took hold after media reports alleging the political elite was allocating tracts of land to itself and to relatives.

The country has a massive housing and land crisis, which has forced the government to invest close to N$48bn ($4bn) over the next 15 years to fill a current shortfall of 100 000 houses.

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