Namibia to consider land expropriation, says president

Namibian President Hage Geingob says the southern African country should give “careful consideration” to expropriating land because the principle of having willing buyers and sellers hasn’t delivered results.

“We can pursue the constitutional mechanisms to achieve land equity,” he said on Monday at the national land conference in the capital, Windhoek. “This position stands, provided expropriation is carried out in the public interest.”

Neighboring South Africa is investigating whether to change its Constitution to make it clearer how the government can expropriate land without compensation as it seeks to redress skewed ownership in favor of the country’s white population.

Namibia is among the world’s most economically unequal nations. While only about 6% of Namibia’s 2.5 million citizens are white, they own most enterprises. That’s a legacy of white-minority rule South Africa imposed when it controlled Namibia from World War I to 1990, with black people being disenfranchised and displaced.

The genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama people from 1904 to 1908 following the arrival of German troops dispossessed Namibians of their land by force and without compensation, Geingob said.

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