Leaders Seek Help to Unravel PG’s Letter

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK An “advice” letter from the Office of the Prosecutor-General (PG) to the Kavango communal land board on how to tackle the Ukwangali land dispute is full of jargon that is difficult for the layman to understand, says the Chairperson of the Kavango Region Land Board, Kakuni Rengura. Rengura told New Era yesterday that it was for this reason that the board resolved at its extra-ordinary meeting last Friday to have a meeting with experts from the PG’s office to explain the content of the letter. At the end of 2005, hundreds of unhappy residents of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority staged a peaceful demonstration expressing their dissatisfaction with Government’s inaction on the highly sensitive issue. The demonstration, which took place at the Kahenge tribal Offices some 120 km west of Rundu, mainly addressed the delay in the removal of the illegal cattle herders and their cattle from their areas. Chief Daniel Sitentu Mpasi of the Ukwangali announced during the demonstration that enough was enough and that his subjects had suffered at the hands of illegal cattle herders for a long time. On December 29, 2005, the PG wrote a letter via the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to the communal land board advising the board on how to deal with the land dispute. “We held an extra-ordinary meeting last Friday to look at the document from the PG via the ministry giving us advice on how to deal with the issue. There are a lot of things that we could not follow. We are laymen, we came to the conclusion to solicit some assistance from the PG, to send experts and explain to us the letter,” Rengura said. Rengura refused to go into details of last Friday’s deliberations. He said it was the board’s decision not to divulge such information until after the meeting with experts from the PG’s office on January 20. “Once we have the meeting with the experts, we will reveal detailed revelations of the meeting last Friday,” he assured. Last December, Rengura rejected the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement’s assertion that the ministry had no powers to evict illegal herders from the Ondonga and Kwanyama tribes grazing in areas belonging to Ukwangali. Lands and Resettlement Deputy Minister Isack Katali, when approached for comment regarding the land issue said in terms of the Communal Land Act, it was the Kwangali Traditional Authority through the Land Board that could terminate the stay of the settlers. Rengura disagreed with the deputy minister’s claim, saying that from the regional level, the land board had no authority to evict these people. After all, he said the decision to have these farmers vacate Ukwangali was a Cabinet one. Last year beginning October, the Government called on all those who were illegally settled in the western part of the Kavango Region to withdraw, and those illegally grazing their cattle in those areas to stop such illegal action. It gave them time until end of October to do so or face legal action. However, the order was flouted with the herders appealing for more time until the rainy season in January this year to avoid possible death of their cattle. “In the meantime, people are still there, there is nothing we can do,” Rengura stated. The PG could not be reached for comment by the time of going to press.