Okombahe farmer tussles over theft prone road

25 Mar 2015 10:10am
SWAKOPMUND, 25 MAR (NAMPA) – A communal farmer from Okombahe settlement in the Erongo Region is tussling with the traditional authority over an un-proclaimed road that he wants closed.
Elton Gurirab told Nampa on Wednesday that the !Oe-#Gan Traditional Authority is ignoring his request to close an un-proclaimed road that runs across the /Naras village to the main road leading to Omaruru.
“We are losing livestock from thieves who use the road because it cutts across the village through the grazing areas. Me and the /Naras community want it closed but the chief is reluctant,” said Gurirab.
He said he has asked the traditional authority to close the road because he is sure that thieves use the road to steal animals.
“I lost 40 goats and 30 sheep in December 2013 and last year December I lost eight cattle. Another farmer Elfriede Gavises lost 29 goats and sheep this year,” charged Gurirab.
He suspects that it is easy for thieves to just load farmers’ livestock onto the back of a pick-up or squeeze a goat onto the backseat of a sedan, as there is not much human activity in the vicinity of the road or the surrounding forest.
Gurirab said if the road is closed, the community would be able to monitor the movement of cars and suspicious persons because there will be no option other than using the main road to Omaruru or the gravel road to Uis.
“A traditional authority is supposed to help us protect our animals because we live off them. We acquired loans to buy livestock, so we might not pay back the money if we lose the animals,” he told Nampa.
Approached for comment on Wednesday !Oe-#Gan Chief Immanuel /Gaseb said Gurirab first closed the road before informing him of his doings.
“I understand his concern and that of the people supporting it but he cannot take the law into his own hands and close a community road. That road is a shortcut and I do not even believe the story stock theft,” said the chief.
He advised that Gurirab and other farmers who share the same sentiments approach his office again for him to arrange a meeting and look into the matter.
The chief said, even though Gurirab has raised the concern with the relevant councillors, he has only communicated to him over the phone.
“He closed the road with a car wreck and a tree. That is not the right way of doing things and that's why I asked him to open it,” said /Gaseb.
The chief cautioned that such manners disrupt the peace in the community and might lead to tribal division.
“I want them to sit with me and my councillors so that we can solve the matter. I do not want concerned groups or factions in this traditional authority,” the chief noted.
Gurirab admitted closing the road saying, he did it to force the traditional authority respond on the matter.
He said he opened the road after the chief told him to do so.