Farmers given 30 days to leave Nyae-Nyae Conservancy

11 Mar 2018 11:50am
WINDHOEK, 11 MAR (NAMPA) – Farmers who invaded the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy in 2009 have asked President Hage Geingob to intervene after they were officially ordered by the Ju/‘hoansi Traditional Authority to leave the area.
Close to 30 Herero-speaking families invaded the conservancy under the jurisdiction of the traditional authority with about 1 000 head of cattle, purportedly because their cattle were dying because of a poisonous plant in the Gam area. The plant however also grew in the conservancy.
The authority on 08 February 2018 issued a notice ordering the farmers to vacate the area.
Speaking on behalf of the affected farmers at a meeting with the president at State House on Friday, National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) president, Asser Mbai, said they were given 30 days to leave.
Senior government officials present at the meeting included Vice President Nangolo Mbumba; Works and Transport Minister John Motorwa (former Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry) and Attorney-General Albert Kawana and Deputy Minister of Land Reform and Resettlement Priscilla Beukes-Boois.
Mbai said in late 2016, he asked his deputy Secretary-General Vetaruhe Kandorozu to visit the Tsumkwe area and consult with the affected farmers to find a solutions to their plight.
He was then informed that the matter had been resolved by the Agriculture Ministry and boreholes were identified in an area where the farmers would be relocated to.
“It is now news to me that the said community has been given an ultimatum to vacate the area within 30 days,” Mbai said.
Mutorwa said the matters was brought to his office in 2009.
“It was said that some people brought their cattle into Tsumkwe by cutting the fence,” he recalled.
Mutorwa however said his ministry only dealt with the cattle and not with any resettlement issues.
“Eventually it came to the High Court and the cattle were confiscated, but the owners of the cattle were compensated as the animals became State property,” he said.
He said a decision was also taken that the farmers should return to where they had come from.
“Whether they went back I don’t have the confidence and the authority to say,” he said.
Kawana recommended that a committee consisting of all interested parties be formed.
“They could sit together and come up with an amicable solution,” he told Geingob.
Geingob however said he wants the problem solved as soon as possible.
“When there is tension we must intervene, we don’t have to wait until somebody is killed while we are still waiting for committees and laws,” he said.
Geingob also told his ministers not to refer back to the court case but to rather find new solutions.