Kavango West Councillor proposes curfew to avoid elephant attack

31 Mar 2015 19:20pm

MUSESE, 31 MAR (NAMPA)- A regional Councillor for the Kavango West Region has proposed an evening curfew for residents in the Musese, Mankupi and Tondoro Constituencies to avoid the possible elephant attacks. Joseph Sikongo, who is manning the three Constituencies, cautioned inhabitants there to stay at home as soon as the sun sets, from about 17h00 onwards. The Councillor?s proposal comes in the wake of a herd of elephants that continue to wreck havoc and destroy crops in the three Constituencies since the beginning of this year. Speaking on the NBC Rukavango radio call-in programme on Tuesday morning, Sikongo explained that the widespread presence of elephants in his constituencies are getting residents 'sick with worries', especially among the school-going children in remote areas who travel long distances. He thus urged parents to accompany their children to and from school to avoid being attacked. ?People must also refrain from staying until late hours at the shebeens, as elephant don?t like the smell of traditional brew and can smell the brew from a 500 metre distance,? cautioned the councillor. Sikongo indicated that since the Environment ministry has been apparently failing to attend to Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) cases in his constituency, his office is currently in the process of registering crop farmers who have lost crops as a result of wildlife interference. According to Sikongo, the names of the affected victims will then be sent to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's (MET) head office, so they can be compensated for the loss. Last month, a herd of elephants that was roaming around different villages in the Musese Constituency are said to have destroyed over 100 crop fields. A group of elephants were wrecking havoc in five different villages of the said constituency, namely in the Gcwagi area, Mahenzere, Kayeura, Rupara and Kakoro villages in the Kavango West Region. The HWC in the said villages has gotten many residents angry and worried because the few crops that have grown due to poor rainfall are further destroyed by the wildlife. Sikongo stated earlier said that since last month, over 100 cases of destroyed crop fields, either by elephants or hippopotami, were registered at his office. The councillor took issue with the MET, blaming it's officials for the lack of adequate manpower, saying that although cases of HWC were reported to them, the ministry is continuously failing to attend to such cases on time. An official from the MET in the Kavango East Region, who spoke on anonymity, last month refuted the councillor?s claim but admitted that the MET is challenged with the lack of manpower just like other ministries. The Musese councillor proposed that the line ministry consider employing Grade 10 and 12 failures as rangers. According to him, they might assist in attending to HWC cases in the two Kavango regions. According to the ministry's HWC Policy, it currently pays out N.dollars 800 per hectare for crop fields damaged by wildlife. (NAMPA) OH/CT/LI