Disgruntled Tuhingireni residents go on land demonstration

02 Mar 2015 10:30am
TUHINGIRENI, 02 MAR (NAMPA)- Illegal squatters at the Tuhingireni informal settlement on the eastern outskirt of Rundu are planning to have a mass land demonstration within 14 days.
This follows the failure of scheduled talks with a regional official which did not materialise.
The disgruntled residents, most of who allegedly settled at Tuhingireni illegally, have been at loggerhead with the Rundu Town Council as they are illegal occupants of the area.
Chairperson of the disgruntled group’s committee Mathew Wakudumo told Nampa on Monday that they are planning a mass demonstration within two weeks to have the council to legitimise their settlement in the area.
In July 2013, the Rundu Town Council notified the residents that they are occupying a portion of land on the town’s farmland No. 1329 without its authorisation.
Wakudumo said the demonstration, which was planned for last week, was cancelled after some senior Swapo Party leaders, whom he refused to name, allegedly threatened the residents from participating in it.
The disgruntled residents said the demonstration is their last resort after several meetings that were to be mediated by Kavango East Regional Governor Dr Samuel Mbambo, have been failing to materialise since last year.
Efforts by this agency to obtain comment from Dr Mbambo on the planned demonstration proved fruitless.
The residents want the council to regard them as legal occupants and are demanding the council to provide basic services such as water, electricity and ablution facilities.
In May last year, the council again ordered the residents settled in the Tuhingireni area along the Trans-Caprivi Highway to stop erecting permanent structures there. The disputed land is not serviced, and has no basic services such as water, electricity or a sewerage network.
The residents have expressed their disappointment with the actions of the regional governor, saying he has failed to take their cries and concerns seriously adding they will continue erecting permanent structures in the Tuhingireni area, since the highest office in the region has failed to mediate the land dispute.
Wakudumo stated that said since the mediation meeting with Dr Mbambo failed to materialise, they have now resolved to organise a mass demonstration over land in the town of Rundu.
“We call upon all residents who don’t own land in the town to join the planned mass demonstration in the town,” he urged.
Wakudumo explained that the planned mass demonstration for land will, amongst others, call upon the town council to make land available for the landless masses.
Another member of the concerned group’s committee, Kaghuyu Shikerete earlier called on all residents of Tuhingireni to continue erecting permanent structures because the Office of the Governor had failed to take them seriously.
Meanwhile, the Rundu Town Council has laid criminal charges against 13 residents of Tuhingireni and taken them to court for allegedly settling in the town area illegally.
According to documents seen by Nampa, the Rundu Town Council has actually sued the people at Tuhingireni and that case is currently ongoing in the Windhoek High Court.