Ekandjo to Tackle Grazing Row

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By Emma Kakololo WINDHOEK The Minister of Lands and Resettlement Jerry Ekandjo is expected to meet with the Ukwangali Traditional Authority at Kahenge Tribal office in the Western Kavango to discuss a land invasion involving hundreds of cattle herders. The Ukwangali tribe is engaged in a grazing row after hundreds of herders from the Ondonga and the Ukwa-nyama drove their beasts into Ukwangali areas. Today’s visit was confirmed yesterday by the Kavango Regional Governor John Thiguru, who nevertheless would not reveal details of what would be discussed at the gathering. Sources however told New Era that Ekandjo would raise the issue of the farms in the Mangetti area with the Ukwangali Authority. There are also reports of moves being made by the Lands ministry to remove some of the farmers from Mangetti, particularly those settled there through the National Development Corporation (NDC) several years ago. Meanwhile, King of On-donga Eliphas Kauluma recently urged his subjects who have illegally settled in Ukwangali to return home. “The King last week sent his messenger that they should come back. Land is available for them. Now that the rains have come there is enough grazing for their animals,” spokesperson of Ondonga Traditional Authority Boas Mweendeleli said last Friday. He also mentioned that all traditional authorities in Owambo are expected to meet tomorrow, hopefully to discuss the Ukwangali issue. Last week the ministry revealed the names of 50 out of over a hundred cattle owners who were served with eviction notification orders but who ignored them and still continue to graze their cattle illegally. The chairperson of the Kavango Regional Land Board, Kakuni Rengura, when approached for comment on Friday said less than 10 people had left, while the rest remained. He said the defiant settlers would be evicted soon. “The notification is only there to prepare them, it’s up to them, if they don’t move the next step is coming,” he stressed In terms of the Communal Land Act, the Kwangali Traditional Authority through the Communal Land Board can terminate the stay of the settlers. In October last year, Cabinet decided that all illegal settlers in the western part of the Kavango Region should withdraw. However, the order was ignored. It gave them time until end of October to do so or face legal action. This prompted the Kwangali Traditional Authority to write a letter to central Government requesting issuance of eviction orders. Illegal farmers could face up to one year imprisonment or a fine of N$4 000 if found guilty by the courts.

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