Kavango West villagers up in arms over farms' development

25 Mar 2014 18:10pm
CALIKAWO, 25 MAR (NAMPA) - Villagers from five communities in the Kavango West region’s Kahenge Constituency are not happy with the Ukwangali Traditional Authority leadership, which has allegedly started demarcating land for new commercial farms in communal areas.
The villagers from Nduno 27, Ndjikiti, Satotwa, Tuzeni and Tjirakana say their communal areas are being fenced off and will allegedly be turned into commercial farms.
According to the concerned community members, over 106 households will be affected if this exercise is allowed to continue in the communal areas.
The community members claim that the land is being fenced off by the traditional authority for prospective farmers who apply for land in the Ukwangali area.
In a letter made available to Nampa, the villagers explained that most of these areas have established boreholes, churches and schools, which they say is clear evidence that the areas were approved by Government as communal areas.
“We feel this is not fair at all in an independent Namibia. There are village development committees and community borehole committees, but they are not informed of the new commercial farms’ establishment,” the letter reads.
The concerned community members have called on central government to intervene as they are worried that they might lose their households, mahangu fields and livestock.
Officials from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement in the Kavango West Region confirmed receiving the letter from the community members, while efforts to obtain comment from Kavango regional Land Board Chairperson Johannes Karondo proved futile as his mobile phone was out of reach.
Approached for comment on Tuesday, chief council member of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority Eugene Siwombe said he is yet to receive an official complaint from the villagers.
He however noted that only certain areas in the villages in question which are located far from communal areas were demarcated, but this was done in conjunction with officials from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement.
Siwombe indicated that although he is yet to see the content of the villagers’ letter, any area which is in close proximity of the communities may not be turned into commercial farms.
He said the Ukwangali Traditional Authority has halted the allocating of new farms and no one is allowed to develop or fence off land for new farms, following a directive issued by Lands and Resettlement Minister Alpheus !Naruseb recently.