/Gobanin leader denies playing the tribal card

13 Nov 2013 17:40pm
GOBABIS, 12 NOV (GOBABIS) – Chief Stefanus Gariseb of the /Gobanin Traditional Authority said he never used the “race card” to advance the interest of one tribal group over the other, but was merely carrying out his assigned duties.
Gariseb was last Wednesday involved in a fierce confrontation with a group of OvaHerero residents over the intended resettlement of Damara people at the newly proclaimed area near the Goreses/Okahungu village.
The place, referred to as Hadagos, is located some five kilometres from the village of Ovizuzu in the Otjinene district of the Omaheke Region.
Gariseb told Nampa on Tuesday that he was merely carrying out his appointed duties by accepting applications for resettlement, and tribe has nothing to do with the exercise.
“This is the same procedures used elsewhere whenever resettlement on communal land is being sought. I was just carrying out my mandate as expected by those who installed me in this position,” he said.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) were last Wednesday summoned to Otjinene to diffuse a tense situation, as some OvaHerero allegedly threatened violence against the other group over the allocation of land at a new settlement.
Gariseb invited a mapping and verification team from the Ministry of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation to do work at Hadagos last Wednesday after he received 230 applications for land at the new settlement.
OvaHerero farmers, however, demanded answers, claiming their leaders were sidestepped in the process.
The situation was reminiscent of 2011 scenario, when the /Gobabin leader was forced into hiding out of fear for his life.
During that year, the NamPol also had to intervene to avert a potential tribal feud when a group of about 150 young OvaHerero men, some in cars and on horseback, and all armed with guns, knobkieries and pangas, attempted to block the chief and his entourage from the piece of land where he intended settling the farmers.