Zimbabwean judge in nasty land row in Namibia

Zimbabwean judge in nasty land row in Namibia
Judge President Petrus Damaseb has moved to preside over the hotly debated land cases
Published: 25 April 2018
A NAMIBIAN pressure group has threatened to demonstrate against former Zimbabwean High Court judge Justice Maphios Cheda, who is embroiled in a nasty land row in that country.

The demonstration is scheduled to take place tomorrow in Namibia's Oshakati town.

Cheda, a former Bulawayo High Court judge, moved to Namibia in 2011 and has been serving in that country's High Court ever since.

The pressure group, known as AR from the Oshakati Town Council in northern Namibia, has organised the #ChedaMustFall for the mass demonstration.

A poster from the group read: "Objecting and stopping Oshakati Town Council from giving plots to family and friends through corruption and private negotiations, including the plot that was recently given to judge Maphios Cheda, a foreign national who has been in Namibia less than five years, while Namibians have been on Oshakati waiting list for over 20 years."

An attached picture of an advertisement in one local newspaper for the "sale" shows Cheda identified as "C Maphios".

The organisers also want to petition the Namibian High Court to push for Cheda's removal from the bench.

"Submitting to Oshakati High Court a petition asking for a removal (sic) of Judge Maphios Cheda for he is a proven land monger both in Zimbabwe and Namibia and his judgments are a danger to the relationship between the masses of Namibian people and the judiciary that is losing credibility," AR argued.

Windhoek-Judge President Petrus Damaseb has moved to preside over the hotly debated land cases, which have pitted inhabitants of traditional land appropriated by the Ongwediva Town Council against the council and affluent property developers at the town.

Until now, Oshakati-based Judge Maphios Cheda has been presiding over these two cases. His initial judgments thus far have attracted severe criticism from the public. The Affirmative Reposition movement, under Job Amupanda, has gone as far as attacking the person and character of Judge Cheda, with rhetoric bordering on xenophobia. Judge Cheda is from Zimbabwe. The movement has also organised a demonstration next week at the High Court, demanding his removal from the bench.

The Oshakati Town Council, on 13 April 2018, listed Cheda as a beneficiary of "Erf No 4035, a 1,260 square metre plot in the Extension 16 suburb, at a price of N$189 000."

A Namibian newspaper reported that the same plot was also allocated to one Patrick Pangashoye Shilongo in 2015 who, according to the paper, has "already paid a deposit and approached a local commercial bank for a building plan to construct his house".

Namibian President Hage Geingob has reportedly acknowledged that land reform is not taking place at the desired pace due to numerous legal and technical obstacles.

Geingob has according to reports instructed local authorities, especially those with the required capacity to play a constructive role in the provision of serviced land.

In 2015, the Special Cabinet Committee on Land and Related Matters in Namibia presented recommendations on agricultural (commercial), urban and communal land, particularly concerning urban land.

The committee made amendments to the Local Authorities Act of 1992 and the Regional Councils Act of 1992 to prohibit the sale of urban land through auction as well as prohibit ownership of urban land by foreign nationals.
- newsday
Tags: Cheda,


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