18 Apr 2014 11:20am
KAHENGE, 18 APR (NAMPA) - Ten families in the Kavango West Region have been summoned to the Ukwangali Traditional Authority leadership for apparently blocking farming development.
The affected villagers are from Nduno 27, Ndjikiti, Satotwa, Tuzeni and Tjirakana among others.
They allegedly blocked a prospective small-scale farmer, Mathias Siremo, from developing his new farm about three weeks ago.
The villagers told Nampa on Tuesday Siremo has been de-bushing a large piece of land in a communal area with the intention to set up a fence around his farm.
They claim Siremo was de-bushing the field up to a community water borehole where they get water for their livestock and for themselves.
Should he continue de-bushing, it will affect our lives. We feel this is not fair at all in an independent country, said one villager who requested anonymity as he fears being victimised by the traditional authority.
Siremo, a resident of the Ukwangali area, was allocated the land in the said area by the Ukwangali Traditional Authority last year and is in possession of a letter authorising him to occupy the piece of land.
An investigation by this reporter revealed that Siremo is yet to receive a leasehold certificate from the Kavango Communal Land Board.
Section 44 of the Communal Land Reform Act no.5 of 2002 states that it is an offence to erect a new fence without proper authorisation.
The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement is yet to visit and measure the area in contention.
The Nduno villagers also stopped Siremo from further de-bushing the area because it is where they graze their livestock.
Siremo then reported the villagers to the Ukwangali Traditional Authority, who in turn requested the affected villagers and other concerned residents to appear before the traditional authority on Saturday to present their grievances to Ukwangali Traditional Authority leader Chief Sitentu Mpasi.
Should it be established that the farmer was de-bushing an area adjacent to the community, he will be stopped from developing it into a farm.
The Ukwangali Traditional Authority is expected to visit the disputed area and conduct an investigation once the hearing has been concluded.
Efforts to obtain comments from Siremo provided futile as his mobile phone remained unreachable since Wednesday.
Meanwhile, villagers from communities in the Kavango West Regions Kahenge Constituency recently expressed unhappiness with the Ukwangali Traditional Authority leadership for allegedly demarcating land for new commercial farms in communal areas.