Updates and decisions: Land reform in Namibia - A Paper to the Land Conference

Progress Namibia - Updates and decisions: Land reform in Namibia - A Paper to the Land Conference
09 October 2018

[Image Source: Tweeted by Integrated Land Management Institute of Namibia, Namibia University of Science and Technology. http://ilmi.nust.na/]

Many of you may have read the Weekly yesterday morning (see below). I had promised to update the story with some decisions. I would like to do this now after having received President Geingob's Closing Statement. I mostly share his sentiments as they relate to the paper I had put together (see below). Here you can also find the resolutions from the conference.

Here are some of his key points synthesised (and in some cases, paraphrased), along with my comments:
  • Deep and empathetic dialogue is a key component [I have heard that in some senses this did take place at the conference, but not to a full extent, I would hope that the process of deep dialogue is a key element going forward]
  • The demand for land and the demand for dignity are interlinked, the role of the state is to put together the right framework to ensure land reform, reduction of poverty and inequality [my comments/(dis)agreements on this are fully addressed in the paper below]
  • The free market has no morality, and in its quest for growth and efficiency it does not care about reducing poverty and inequality [this speaks directly to my paper]
  • We, people, control the market, we control the bureaucracy, and we can change it, together: state, private enterprise, citizenry
  • For the Ancestral Land Claims: This issue is not off the table, and a proposal for a Commission of Inquiry to look at the matter of dispossession from ancestral land is on the table
  • On Resettlement: He promised to look into the list of resettlement farmers, and maintained the possibility that releasing the list may have had more to do with poor record keeping and less with lack of transparency
  • Expropriation: Constitutionally, the state has every right to expropriate land, and the state will no longer allow a situation where there is one price for government which is highly inflated and another price for the market which is reasonable - here reiterated that the pursuit of wealth at the expense of the poor, landless Namibian is no longer acceptable, the state will investigate the possibilities of expropriation with just compensation, and particularly focus will first go to land owned by absentee landlords, and underutilized land
  • On the plight of farmworkers (yes, sadly, we live in a country where our farmworkers are still treated terribly in many situations): President Geingob called on the farm owners that the living conditions of many farmworkers are unacceptable and inhumane - this again is about ensuring the dignity of our fellow Namibians, while we have legislated better protections for farmworkers, we cannot legislate decency - this is something that we really hope farm owners will own up to
  • On communal land reform: while he did address the fact that communal land is under-developed, the issue of illegal fencing, and the red line, I was saddened to see that the approach of less fences, more communal land, more holistic livestock management, did not feature [see my paper below]
  • On urban land reform: called for support for servicing of land and low-income housing units, informal settlements need to be given immediate attention as a matter of national emergency
  • Generally, a comprehensive review of laws around land reform that are impeding progress will take place, in tandem with the formulation of an Urbanization and Spatial Development Policy
  • The National High-Level Committee on Land Reform (led by our Prime Minister) will remain fully intact until the exercise (and top priorities) are completed
  • Full participatory process is envisaged (task teams, civil society inclusion)
  • Trust is gathered through transparency and accountability - he promised to exercise this fully in the land reform process
  • To white Namibians: This is your country too, we are all Namibians, together. There is no expectation that you must feel guilty for the colonial and racist brutality of the past, the expectation is merely that you acknowledge that this happened and that many people are still disadvantaged today as a result, the fundamental question then is - what role can you play that your fellow Namibians can get back their dignity and improve their quality of life? In short, the haves (regardless of race) must take responsibility to ensure the inclusion of the have-nots
  • To the young Namibians: you have a vital role to play, and your voice is heard!
All in all, strong statements with strong intentions. I would have liked to have seen a bigger shake-up vis-a-vis my paper and opinions with the view-point of (a) asking the question - what is the purpose of land reform, and there after, through depth dialogue processes, developing a Theory of Change, and (b) systems-linking land reform with other systems (e.g. financial) to make sure that limitations are not forcing the land reform system into neoliberal economic approaches (which are harmful to both society and our life support system - the environment) but rather one that is in line with equity and environmental integrity (vis. rethinking communal versus commercial farming).

--- below: the initial Weekly ---

I have been out on travels and by the time this Weekly comes out I will not have been informed fully on the decisions from the Land Conference hosted just last week, ending Friday afternoon. I was asked to put together a paper, based on my own opinions and insights, on land reform in Namibia, for the conference. I share this paper below; hoping that I will be commenting on what was finally decided later in the week on our Newsblog (i.e. updating this story).

"We can't have inequality, land dispossession and sit with our hands folded. All of us must dialogue with one another; find solutions as Namibians and act with urgency. We should do it the Namibian way, with sensitivity, far-sightedness and sustainability in mind." President Hage G. Geingob, 30 September 2018 (media release)

What is this paper about?
President Hage G. Geingob, in his State of the Nation address this year, referred to land as a "vexing, complex and emotive matter". He has consistently promoted the need for an inclusive, sensitive, and transparent dialogue pertaining to the issue of land in Namibia.

It is in this vein that I present this paper to the 2nd National Land Conference (1-5 October 2018) and hope that it can be used as a point of departure for a deep, safe, honest, and empathetic dialogue during the conference.

This paper discusses land reform in the context of farmland, not residential (and urban) land, these two are often argued interchangeably, and we need to be careful to make a distinction (although they are of course connected in many ways).

My paper is a synthesis based on studies and reviews by fellow Namibian scholars and thinkers much more capacitated on the issue than myself, peppered with my own insights based on a bigger picture view. The paper is based on various references (newspaper articles, NSA data, peer-reviewed journal papers, briefs and discussion papers from NUST Integrated Land Management Institute, books, policies and acts), although due to the nature and format of the paper, I have not referenced each point in the hope for an easier and more insightful read. I am happy to provide direct sources on request.

Generally, it aims to bring to the forefront some realities and some key overarching questions to consider. It seems that there is an urgent and reflective need to ask for whom and for what exactly land reform is for, as there are diverging opinions about this. This also brings in the bigger question about the current economic system and how we structure it with the aim of a better life for all Namibians. If we critically look at this in the bigger picture context, then land reform will also be questioned, particularly the current model of industrial agriculture in a commercial setting.

We also need be very realistic about the limitations in terms of agricultural output in the country especially in the face of climate change.

Very importantly, this paper attempts to bring transparency, honesty, and self-criticism to the forefront. Without discussing these things openly and in a safe space, there will be (continued) diminishing trust and empathy, without which we lose the very foundation for progress and unity.

I start by synthesising, in brief, what has been done so far and in general in terms of land reform, and unpacking the challenges within this large (and diverse) effort. There-after I close with the bottom line, attempting to bring clarity as to why we need land reform and redistribution, and what kind of alternative thinking could help us move forward. This alternative thinking is not meant to be blue-print solution, but rather catalyse different approaches and ways of addressing this matter, and enhance dialogue for a productive, honest and empathetic conference. One that does not make it a competition between different agendas, but instead aims to build Namibia as one nation and one people.

A synthesis of what has been done and an unpacking of challenges
Government in the past 28 years has made an enormous effort to deal with a very complex issue with many different actors and agendas. The most recent Resettlement Policy and Resettlement Programme critically reviews this effort and attempts to pave a way forward. I will not discuss these, but instead give an overarching synthesis in terms of (a) land reform in the freehold sector, and (b) land reform in communal areas.

(a) Land reform in the freehold sector
Under the National Resettlement Programme (NRP), implementation has predominantly occurred through the acquisition of freehold farms by the state and their transformation into small-scale farming units which would then be allocated to previously disadvantaged Namibians. The Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) aims to complement this approach, though targeting a different audience to the NRP (i.e. not necessarily marginalised, but those who have some assets already), through financial and other support to buy commercial farms with subsidised loans.

The success and failure of the NRP and the AALS has mostly been measured in terms of how much land was acquired and reallocated, despite it being more complicated than that. The targets for this have been fluctuating, and there are many reasons for the apparent slow pace.

The lack of allocations have been in the past frequently cited by the Ministry of Land Reform (MLR) that not enough land of sufficient quality has been offered predominantly because many white farmers have been unwilling to sell their land. This is connected to the willing buyer-willing seller model, which has been widely and emotively criticised for having failed to have a rapid implementation of land redistribution. We have to remember that committing to the willing seller-willing buyer means that it is supply driven, and not led by demand. The state buys land if and when it becomes available and is feasible. So, while the model does contribute to maintaining some semblance of stability and minor forms of reconciliation, it first and foremost protects the land owners. They are neither compelled to sell, nor do they need to sell at a price that is not satisfactory to them. This creates an unequal power relationship between the land owners, the landless, and the state.

While the state is actually legally empowered to expropriate land for public purposes, it has very rarely done this since Independence. As an example, which was more a direct request than it was expropriation, former President Pohamba, in May 2004, sent a letter to over ten farmers expressing Government interest in buying the property. The farm owners were then invited to make an offer to sell the property to the state. Among the farmers targeted were those which were on record for labour-related conflicts. Once the expropriation letters were distributed, a minority group (of predominantly racist) farmers took the matter forward into public confrontation. At a meeting in June 2004, they articulated arrogant and self-righteous defiance to Government and blamed the commercial farmers union for its sell-out strategy.

This instance illustrates that there has been a lack of full solidarity from a number of white land owners who show that they are unwilling to accept that they had benefitted from a previous system of gross injustice and that in the name of Namibian unity should sacrifice something in the name of the greater good of all Namibians (and here I am not talking about even close to the type of sacrifice some of our Namibian forefathers and mothers had to make when they were forcibly removed from land that was part of their very identity).

However, the unwillingness of white land owners to sell land to the state as the only argument for the slow pace of redistribution is not an entirely correct one either. Around 8 million hectares have been offered to the state through the willing seller-willing buyer model, of which only 3 million were bought for redistribution. In the first decade after Independence, only 97 farms were bought from Government out of 759 commercial farms on offer to the Government.

The fact also remains that white land owners have sold around twice as much land to AALS farmers than to the NRP since Independence. The problem with this is that the MLR is competing with prospective AALS buyers for the best land and the AALS buyers end up having a distinct advantage. Contrary to the legal framework, an unwritten policy directive exempts owners selling farms to AALS from applying for a waiver. For most white farmers this is a more attractive option than offering the farm to the state, with all that this entails. Therefore, instead of having a preferential right to buy (as the legal framework actually provides for), the MLR ends up having second choice.

Then, of course, there is also the question of the high percentage of waivers (why the state has not bought more farms on offer). As an example, in 2012, 96% of the 260 farms offered to the state received waivers. The reason for this was mostly attributed to the fact that they did not satisfy minimum farm size requirements. The suitability of the land was also an issue. The overriding factor that determines land use and diversification in this regard is of course water. Farms offered up were primarily assessed in terms of their ability to sustain livestock farming. So, unless the farm had strong natural resource endowment and well developed infrastructure in this regard, the waiver was likely to be given. Unless criteria for the selection of freehold land is changed, the amount of land that is suitable for resettlement purposes will need to be reassessed.

Some arguments have been made to buy freehold farms with inadequate infrastructure and the state should assist in upgrading it. It is argued that this approach would not only provide access to agricultural land, but would also increase agricultural productivity of the country. MLR has done this to a limited extent, through providing financial support to rehabilitate water infrastructure (e.g. in 2013/14 the MLR developed/rehabilitated 43 resettlement farms).

If the amount of waivers is to be reduced, current assessment criteria need to be reviewed to broaden the range of land that could be considered for acquisition, this can of course only be justified if we have the financial support system to enable beneficiaries to upgrade their farm infrastructure.

The current model of small-scale resettlement has also been argued against by some groups, particularly within the modernisation discourse, and this discourse of course has also had influence over who become beneficiaries. It is argued that the current small-scale resettlement model is only likely to yield moderate levels of success if beneficiaries can satisfy the following requirements: own enough livestock to begin with, have start up capital and buffer capital, have farming experience.

The modernisation discourse for many, including prominent politicians, is that access to resettlement land should support aspirant commercial farmers to develop, rather than supporting poor people who have no access to land, livestock or employment. Against this background, resettlement is a programme that seeks to boost a growing middle class of farmers with financial support from the state.

The assumption that access to resettlement land will lead to full-scale farming, along with the reality that land does not equal wealth in Namibia (in terms of productivity and income from farming alone), shows up in the fact that land redistribution does not play a role in the poverty reduction and rural development national policies and programmes. A critical review of resettlement over the past 28 years has suggested that access to land may not be the most efficient way to reduce poverty. For instance, while poverty reduction is one of the major aims of land redistribution, access to land has not been integrated into the Poverty Reduction Strategy for Namibia 1998 nor in the Action Programme 2001-05. The Action Programme did not accord redistributive land reform a long-term role in poverty alleviation, observing that the 'agricultural base is too weak to offer sustainable basis for prosperity'. Land redistribution in relation to poverty reduction also does not feature in the National Rural Development Policy of Namibia, or the National Rural Development Strategy (2013/14-2017/18). Instead, securing long-term land tenure in rural areas is regarded as an important intervention area to encourage economic development.

It is argued that it is not sustainable to resettle persons with little to no resources and expect them to maintain or improve the level of economic production on resettled units. After all, farming is a capital intensive activity requiring large inputs up front. Using land as a tool for social welfare provision was not considered to be economically sustainable or desirable, therefore revised criteria emphasised the need to farm productively.
Building on this, there were initial discussions about having people benefit who fall below a capped income, to allow for marginalised people to still have access. This was turned down in a participatory process with the Regional Governors, and as a result the absence of a cap on annual income levels meant that some of the beneficiaries included an elite group of people who were already employed. The Permanent Technical Team on Land Reform found in 2004 that of all interviewed beneficiary households, 45% were wage earners, and of those, 74% were government employees based mainly in Windhoek. Regional Governors, Permanent Secretaries, business people, and other employed people are known to have been allocated a parcel of land. Here is the loophole - poverty was equated with landlessness. The practical implication of this is that regardless of whether applicants earned a high salary or not, if they were landless, they qualified for resettlement.

The implementation of the NRP was therefore not always aimed at the poor as defined by the National Statistics Agency. The consequence is then that there seems to be no meaningful place for the poor in a land reform programme that is aiming to increase agricultural production. To accommodate the poor, there were suggestions instead to propose a social welfare model which should focus on the destitute, vulnerable and marginalised people.

(b) Land reform in the communal areas
Much less on the public radar, but probably more important in terms of how much of the population's livelihood is supported, is the history and challenges of land reform in the communal areas.
In the communal areas, the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002 aimed to improve tenure security by verifying and registering customary land rights to arable (and residential) land, as well as the development of small-scale commercial farming through the surveying of communal land into parcels of around 2500 hectares. It also provided for financial support to develop necessary infrastructure for farming through large-scale investments through the Programme for Communal Land Development (PCLD). The Act also acknowledged the continued role that Traditional Leaders should play in the allocation and cancellation of customary land rights. The main aims of the Act were the registration of customary land rights, long term leases over communal land, and economic development of communal land through surveying of individual farming units and generous infrastructure support.

The registration of land rights aims to improve the tenure security in communal areas, among others, to encourage economic development through increased investments on the land. Through this registration under the PCLD, enhanced tenure has been secured for over 500,000 Namibians living in communal areas. Customary systems across the continent have shown to provide sufficient long-term security to facilitate investments and economic development. However, the financial system has been a barrier in terms of access to input and output markets, financial institutions, agricultural technology (and less related - appropriate extension services).

The PCLD had a change of focus from supporting individual small-scale farmers to include small groups of communal farmers who have agreed to have their common land fenced off in the interest of increased commercial farming. Infrastructure development and advisory services to these groups and other communal farmers has increased multiple-fold under the PCLD.

There continues to be a cause for concern that rights to commonages in communal areas have no legal protection, which means that villagers with customary rights to grazing on communal grazing areas are vulnerable to outsiders asserting claims to their grazing areas. Much of the communal areas have been fenced off and continue to be under threat to illegal fencing. The local privatisation of communal land can only further marginalise the most vulnerable. In this regard, the PCLD has made effort in the advancement of group rights to secure diminishing commonage in most marginal areas.

The option for land reform to add more freehold land to communal land was on the table at the Land Conference in 1991 but was never adopted formally despite the fact that it was ranked high in terms of equity impact relative to investment costs. It has been done to a small extent where MLR acquired farms adjacent to communal areas in the south and west and handed them over to traditional authorities for allocation. In the name of equity, it should probably be tabled as an important discussion point again at this conference.

The bottom line - the deeper purpose of land reform
Given the past 28 years of land reform effort, there remains a key question that we need to ask ourselves. It might be a simple question that we assume we have answered long ago. However, the fact that the different discourses, agendas, and even actions, are not harmonised implies that we have not fundamentally answered this question, at least not in a collective or strategic (bigger picture) way. The question is this: What is the purpose of land reform in Namibia?

There are three underlying (and in my view, often diverging) arguments in terms of the purpose (or at least maintaining stability and economic growth within the purpose) of land reform that are voiced by different actors directly involved in land reform processes. These are, in no particular order:
  1. To maintain (or even increase) agricultural productivity of the country and contribute to economic growth (at least from a macroeconomic point of view), which arguably in itself is not really the purpose, but has increasingly become so;
  2. To reduce poverty and enhance equity;
  3. To reclaim the ancestral rights and ownership of land in our country.
I will discuss these separately, although when taking a systems thinking approach, these can be connected (but not in our current way of thinking vis-a-vis the current economic model).

(a) Maintaining agricultural productivity in the country and contributing to economic growth
The NRP essentially aimed to transform large-scale commercial farms into several small-scale farming units in order to provide as many previously disadvantaged Namibians with access to freehold agricultural land as possible. This of course raised the question whether extensive small-scale livestock farming is viable (economically) in the long-term. Apparently mega farms, where increased output volumes compensate for lower profit margins, are the only way to sustain commercial meat production (within the rules of the current economic system). Internationally, the trend is to buy land from small-scale farmers in order to create larger farming units (usually owned by a corporation or a small number of people). But is this the model we really want?

The modern discourse to intensify and industrialise agriculture is one that fits in the current economic model of unquestioned growth, but this is something that the Sustainable Development Goals and the transition to an economy that serves all, is trying to move away from, for two reasons: (1) it is largely unsustainable in terms of planetary boundaries and ecosystem health, and (2) it does not solve the issue of equity because land (and financial wealth) becomes increasingly privatised into the hands of the few. From a (current neoliberal) macroeconomic point of view, the present pattern of commercially-driven utilisation makes sense. Our GDP will go up if we have large tracts of land owned by people and/or companies with capital who can invest in large-scale commercial agriculture. Commercial farmers farm cattle for beef (as an example) which is then traded internationally and earns foreign currency. In this argument, farm redistribution to small-scale farmers is not 'economically feasible' and will not comparatively contribute nearly as much to GDP. But then, the current global discourse (as a result of various looming collapses) is changing to question the current economic system which has been largely unsustainable and has driven inequity. In this light the model of industrialised large-scale agriculture will not fix inequity. It might very well do the opposite.

In fact, it is communal farming, not commercial farming, that supports the majority of the population, particularly in terms of food security and informal employment. The majority of our population depends on subsistence agriculture for their livelihood (both cropping, and pastoral). In fact, from an ecological point of view in a dryland system like Namibia (where large herds of game have always moved large distances to find patchy rains and thus grazing and browsing), more people would benefit from holistic rangeland management in a communal, no-fence approach, where through trust and cooperation, rather than individualism and competition, cattle and other livestock are herded across larger tracts of land (i.e. grouping livestock under many owners who share land).

The economic growth argument to radically increase production at scale at the moment is about income and driven by markets which will not, as it stands now, benefit all Namibians. It will further marginalise those who are landless and poor, and reward those who are already privileged. Case in point, the rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer.

If economic growth (and thus agricultural productivity as a driver for economic growth) is used as a way to uplift Namibians, then we need to very much question what kind of growth and for whom. At the moment, on its own, it will not do so.

(b) To reduce poverty and enhance equity
As elaborated in sections above, land redistribution is often argued under the precipice of enhancing equity and dealing with poverty reduction. While it is popularly believed that land equals wealth in Namibia, this is certainly not the case. For those dependent on the land for their livelihood (whether commercial or communal) will tell you, and be able to prove it, their existence is not guaranteed, especially in times of drought. On average, these farmers are certainly not wealthy. We need to differentiate these from those who have taken on 'weekend farming' and who earn their wage predominantly through other means.
The only way that land redistribution will support the tackling of previous injustices as well as current challenges associated with poverty and inequity, is a holistic and systemic view of the poverty and inequity trap, and finding the leverage points within the system to make change. This will include a redistribution of wealth (all forms of wealth, including land), a strong social safety net (such as UBI), and a rethinking of both the education system and the economic system towards one that includes all. Dealing with land alone to solve poverty issues is already widely understood as unrealistic (as shown in the poverty reduction programmes), particularly given our poor environmental conditions (poor soil, lack of water), which will be extremely exacerbated by climate change (due to our international leaders lack of ownership and commitment to effectively mitigate - again, an economic system argument).

However, land redistribution can help - if it is done properly and systemically. Resettlement in this regard will involve a complex human process and require careful social and economic planning in order for it to be successful. And it will require a rethinking of land tenure and the systems that support it, including the argument I made above about communal land being a key contributor to wellbeing and food security (in the name of cooperation).

(c) Reclaiming ancestral rights to land
While Independence resulted in sovereignty and political freedom, the land ownership structures created through dispossession continue to represent a part of colonialism which needs to be confronted in order to bring about real sovereignty. This has (unfortunately) not been as much focusing on changing the capitalist property structures which perpetuate the problem of high poverty levels and skewed distribution of income and wealth, but instead on restructuring property rights in freehold land.

The restructuring of property rights to facilitate full independence must then absolutely raise the question of restoring ancestral rights. I am sure that most people would have argued initially that that was the whole point of land reform in the first place. Despite the importance attached to addressing historical injustices with regard to access to agricultural land, the restitution of ancestral land rights has been ruled out in Namibia. The Land Conference in 1991 passed a consensus resolution that ancestral land rights could not be restored in full. This consensus was achieved because it was difficult to deal with the overlapping claims to ancestral land made by different communities. In lieu of restoring ancestral land rights, the dispossessed should have featured as a priority group amongst beneficiaries. This was not the case.

It was argued that acceding to particularistic demands for restoration by disposed minorities apparently may have run the risk of perpetuating past divisions. For the process of 'unification' or building one Namibian nation, this was repackaged to then mean to include all affected colonised communities equally, even those whose parents and grandparents were not forcibly removed from their land (but were exposed to other forms of oppression). Arguably, wealth redistribution and many forms of dialogue and unified support should have gone into fixing the injustices of the past; with those who were directly dispossessed having a strong voice in how land should be dealt with. It after all, land to the dispossessed is also a deeper question of identity and dignity. The 1991 decision to not restore land to ancestral rights meant that many people felt marginalised (which was the opposite intention of the decision vis-a-vis unifying Namibians).

This with time also opened up the broad term 'previously disadvantaged' to mean even those who had in the mean time become advantaged still reaping large rewards while those who were directly affected in terms of their ancestral land being taken from them by force, the most marginalised, and dispossessed, receiving little or in some cases, none of the benefits.

In the name of constructive and empathetic dialogue, those who have been dispossessed and still feel further marginalised by the system, should receive a safe platform to have their voices heard, and decisions should be made that include ancestral right and identity.

The point to be made here, is that it is very important to come up with an agreement about what land reform should truly be about, and for whom. In President Geingob's words, in the name of holding "hands in the spirit of Harambee, guided by our collective desire to build a better and sustainable Namibia", there should be a strong and strategic vision in the form of a Theory of Change developed out of a well facilitated depth dialogue process, in which we ask the question: what do we really want to achieve out of land reform? The answer should be as transparent and clear as possible, and should benefit all Namibians in a fair and equitable manner (which would mean some of us would have to be okay with making sacrifices so that others can be uplifted).

Once one could answer that question with a Theory of Change, one could start working toward the how. A systems dynamics model could be a method in which one could test different interventions toward the impact of the Theory of Change, which would help in identifying the roadmap (the 'how').

The umbrella answer (to which many other reform processes and strategies are also trying to work towards) is a better Namibia for all, and would probably require a new economic system that meets the following principles:
  1. All fundamental human needs of Namibians are met,
  2. There is fair distribution of resources,
  3. Income and wealth are created and maintained within the ecological support system.
The current economic system does not do this. And the current land reform system does not do this, although the mission and vision of the Revised National Resettlement Policy (2018-2027) is in agreement with these principles. And for this to be done, we should be taking a systems approach and in the process we would find that various models and systems (including, among others, the financial system which is a barrier to effective and equitable land reform), need to pull in and change. To reiterate from my arguments made previously in this paper, land reform on its own and in isolation can do very little when it is so clearly part of a bigger system. But it can certainly make a valid contribution, which will require a rethinking of how we see land ownership and the systems that support the current forms of ownership, and rural development; and ultimately, how we see progress in the context of our ecological limits, the power of cooperation versus competition, and the unification of Namibians.

The underlying question at the back of our minds and hearts should be, are our plans and models integrating, or further marginalising?