Computer-assisted analysis of Namibian land reform policy

Okafor, Uzochukwu Godsway Ojo (2006-03)

Thesis (MPA (School of Public Management and Planning))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


The focus of this research is on the analysis of Namibian land reform policy. The primary objective is to identify the prevailing values behind the land reform, formulate precise objectives that reflect the inherent values, and analyse the existing options with a view to identifying the delivery mechanism(s) most appropriate to meeting the land reform objectives and to delivering the desired outcomes in a sustainable way. Namibia inherited skewed land ownership. The land reform debate focuses mainly on the redistribution of commercial farms, which are mostly owned by whites, and the tenure reform in the communal areas. The Namibian land reform rests on a tripartite scheme: Resettlement, Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) and the Development of Communal Areas (DCA). These approaches are governed by a number of policies and laws. Land reform is a very complex and emotion-laden phenomenon with multiple dimensions, which include moral, historical, social, economic, environmental and technical aspects. The land question in Namibia is a race question. While politicians argue publicly that land reform is important to boost the economy and reduce poverty, in reality the focus is on having more black Namibians own more of Namibia’s commercial farmland. This discrepancy between public pronouncements and actual motive may be responsible for the lack of clear objectives for the land reform policy. The analysis of Namibian land reform policy will require formulation of precise objectives. Because Namibia is the driest country south of the Sahara, sustainable management of land is imperative. Finding ways of achieving a politically acceptable racial balance of commercial land ownership and sustainable utilisation of redistributed land within an optimum time span is a challenge. The formulation of Namibian land reform policy was not preceded by any attempt at prior policy analysis. An ad hoc and crisis-management approach prevailed. A policy issue analysis approach has been used in this study. It is based primarily on a literature review augmented with questionnaires and interviews with selected key stakeholders. A stratified sampling technique was applied in the selection of the key stakeholders. The three groups identified were the policy-formulation and implementation group, the commercial farmers and the emerging farmers. VISA, a multi-criteria decision analysis package, was used to analyse and compare the three land reform approaches, while PolicyMaker software was used to analyse political actors and suggest strategies that can enhance the policy’s feasibility. The literature review and questionnaires revealed that the objectives of the land reform policy include correcting the skewed ownership of commercial farmland to reflect the demography of Namibia, alleviating poverty and achieving social and economic equity for all citizens. The programme should be sociologically, economically and environmentally sustainable. Combining all these objectives as criteria for evaluation, VISA demonstrates that the affirmative action loan scheme has the greatest potential for meeting the objectives followed by resettlement and development of communal areas respectively. Using the PolicyMaker software, stakeholders were categorised into supporters, opponents and non-mobilised; opportunities and obstacles were identified and strategies devised to harness opportunities and diffuse opposition.

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