21 Oct 2015 18:50pm
OUTAPI, 21 OCT (NAMPA) Tension over boundaries and grazing rights in and around the Omakange area is mounting between the Tjijeura Traditional Authority in the Kunene Region and Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority in the Omusati Region.
Each of the two traditional authorities claims that the Omakange grazing land falls under its jurisdiction.
Omusati regional governor Erginus Endjala on Tuesday brought the two disputing parties together at his Outapi office to try and reach an amicable solution to the tension.
The meeting was also aimed at avoiding possible physical confrontation between members of the community who live within the disputed Omakange area or allow their livestock to graze there.
Endjala chaired the meeting, which was also attended by the Kunene regional governor Angelika Muharukua.
According to Endjala, the grazing dispute between the Tjijeura and Uukwaluudhi Traditional authorities was reported to his office at beginning of this month.
The tensions between the two parties originates from a recent incident when herders from Tjijeura moved their cattle to the Omakange area for better grazing. The local leadership of the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority confronted them with the intention to prevent them from entering the area.
The Uukwaluudhi leaders want the herders from Tjijeura to apply for permission (from the traditional authority) to allow their animals to graze in the Omakange area.
The two authorities are said to have separate local traditional leaders in the area.
Chief Boas Tjijeura of the Tjijeura Traditional Authority told Nampa in an interview at Outapi on Tuesday the dispute over boundaries between his authority and that of Uukwaluudhi actually started shortly after Independence in 1990.
The current grazing problem is a result of an ongoing boundary dispute between our two authorities, Tjijeura charged.
He added that the said conflict has already been reported to the Office of the President and the Council of Traditional Leaders in Namibia.
According to Tjijeura, the matter was already reported to the Office of the President when founding President Sam Nujoma was in office.
The Outapi meeting could not solve the dispute, as the two parties could not reach an agreement on which authority is in charge of the disputed grazing land.
Another meeting is therefore to be arranged on a date still to be decided.
I understand circumstances surrounding grazing during this time of drought, and if we, as leaders fail to handle it with care, we may refuel the tension, Endjala told the meeting.