Aminuis villagers unhappy with Omaheke Communal Land Board

11 Feb 2016 16:10pm
GOBABIS, 11 FEB (NAMPA) - The Omaheke Communal Land Board has come under fire from a group of farmers for allegedly dragging its feet in solving an illegal fencing dispute.
Farmers from the Orevia village in the Aminuis Constituency on Wednesday presented a petition with grievances on the Land Board's alleged slow pace in solving an illegal fencing dispute at this village.
Orevia is situated some 90 kilometres south of Gobabis.
The tiny village of Orevia in the Omaheke Region in 2013 became a beacon of hope for the Omaheke Communal Land Board's programme to rid the region of illegal fencing after some villagers who had erected such fences voluntarily removed it.
Orevia villagers took a common vow to open up communal land in the area - most of which had been fenced off by individual farmers - in a bid to allow more grazing for their drought-stricken livestock.
The illegal fencing covered almost half of the village's total grazing area.
Despite many voluntarily removing their illegal fences at the village, some three illegal fences belonging to farmers at the village are yet to fall.
Kleofas Katuuo, who represented the Orevia community, said the Land Board has failed to act against these farmers, as their illegal fences are still standing despite other villagers having removed theirs.
“Some people in Orevia removed their illegal fences three years ago, and others not. Must we, the law abiding citizens, re-erect our illegal fences or what do you want? We need an urgent solution on this,” he noted.
Katuuo said the conspicuous silence of the Land Board on the matter, despite several attempts by him and the rest of the Orevia community to have the issue addressed, is tantamount to the disruption of peace and harmony amongst the Orevia community.
“Board members of the Omaheke Land Board can easily cause violence between Namibian citizens due to not complying to the Land Act. We are aware of the wrong people placed at the right places, but this must stop,” he said.
The villagers gave the Land Board until 10 April 2016 to respond to their petition.
The chairperson of the Omaheke Communal Land Board, Maria Vaendwanawa, who is also the acting Chief Regional Officer (CRO) for the Omaheke Regional Council, said the Land Board will study the petition and revert to the villagers.
“We acknowledge receipt of this petition but we have to study it and come back to you on what is the best possible way to proceed on this matter,” she said.
The Aminuis Constituency is grappling with a serious illegal fencing crisis, which has rendered most farmers unable to access large tracts of land which have been fenced off for private use by some communal farmers.
The practice, which is said to be largely perpetrated by well-off farmers in the area - some of whom already have commercial farms of their own - has become a serious concern among the farming community.