Land Board to Evict Illegal Settlers

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK The Kavango Communal Land Board (KCLB) has decided to issue eviction notification letters to scores of farmers allegedly illegally grazing their cattle in Ukwangali Traditional Authority area in western Kavango. Hundreds of cattle owners who do not have enough land on which to graze their animals from Ondonga and Oukwanyama illegally occupied tribal areas belonging to the Ukwangali, resulting in a hotly debated grazing dispute that was even referred to higher authorities. Last November, the board issued eviction notices to 50 cattle owners. The notices were served on 50 of the 73 cattle owners. Dozens of farmers grazing in the area have already been notified, while the others are now being served with similar eviction notifications, stated the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement last Friday. The proposed date of issue is not known and efforts to get hold of the KCLB chairperson Rengura Kakuni have so far proved fruitless. The Kavango Regional Governor John Thighuru when approached for comment said he had not been briefed on the latest developments. But yesterday, he was expected to meet with Kakuni. On January 29, 2006, officials from the Office of the Attorney General (AG) and the KCLB met to address the simmering grazing dispute in the Kavango. The meeting was to deliberate on the advice the AG gave to KCLB on December 29, 2005, on how to deal with the dispute. Last year October, the Government called on all those who were illegally settled in western Kavango Region to withdraw, and those illegally grazing their cattle in those areas to stop such illegal action. The Government gave them until the end of October to do so or face legal action. However, the order was flouted, with the herders appealing for more time until January this year to avoid the possible death of their cattle. In November 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 that 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 the areas under occupation. 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. Among the 50 farmers who were served with eviction notifications are: George Nelulu, Ileni Sheyavali, Mukwendje Tomas Sheyavali, Ndaakolute Eliazer, Hailya Saratiel, Isaak Kayofa, Vatileni Paulus H, Jonas Hetambi, Aune Sara Amkongo and Thomas Ileni. Both spokespersons for the Oukwanyama and Ondonga traditional authorities, Michael Heita and Boas Mweendeleli, were unavailable for comment.