Namibian President Hage Geingob vowed on Monday to push ahead with land redistribution, echoing the government of neighbouring South Africa, where the issue has become a fierce political battleground.
Namibia, which was ruled by colonial Germany and then apartheid South Africa until 1990, has large swathes of agricultural land, as well as major diamond and platinum mining industries.
“Many Namibians were driven off their productive land,” Geingob said at the opening of a national conference in Windhoek to discuss new land policy.
“The fundamental issue is the inequality… We also share a burning land issue and a racialised distribution of land resources with South Africa.
“This comes from a common history of colonial dispossession. What we also agree to is that the status quo will not be allowed to continue.”
Geingob added that “careful consideration should be given to expropriation”, but urged that the process remain peaceful.
The conference has been boycotted by several traditional leaders, civil society organisations and political parties for allegedly having predetermined outcomes.
Traditional leaders have called on the government to resettle people on land that belonged to their ancestors.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who faces elections in 2019, has said expropriating farms without compensating their owners would “undo a grave historical injustice” against the black majority during colonialism and the apartheid era.