By Charles Tjatindi
Villagers from Omatjete in the Daures Constituency of the Erongo Region are threatening to take the law into their hands to rid the area of elephants.
Despite pleas from traditional councillors in the area to remain calm, as attempts are being made to resolve the matter, villagers are threatening to kill the elephants to avoid further damage to their properties and the consequent loss of life.
The NBC Radio’s Otjiherero Service call-in programme, ‘Indjo kepu’, has been inundated with calls from irate villagers who register their disappointment with the alleged manner in which the traditional authority is handling the situation. Some callers accused the traditional council of being ‘too diplomatic’ in its effort to solve the matter.
Said one caller: “(Traditional) councillors are talking about seeing the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, and even seeing the President, but they are forgetting the basic structures. They should start with nature conservation warders to address the matter. All those people they want to go to are just law makers – they do not work with the situation on the ground.”
Fabianus Uaseuapuani, a councillor in the Zeraua Traditional Authority, who is among those who want to find a lasting solution to the problem, noted earlier that they had met regional authorities including the governor, and now plan to meet the President, in a bid to resolve the issue of elephants.
Others feel that the line ministry’s call for communities to co-exist with the jumbos is not practical, as the latter continue to be a constant threat to their lives.
“When you encounter an elephant – it’s one of two things, either you kill it or it tramples you to death in a wink of an eye,” another caller complained on the same programme yesterday.
Some villagers New Era spoke to confirmed the presence of elephants around their homesteads and noted that despite pleas from conservationists to co-habit with the elephants, they would not take such a risk.
New Era yesterday quoted the Chief Control Warden: Erongo Regional Services in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Simukusi Maketo as saying the elephants are driven to the villages by grazing along the Ugab River, as it is mostly dry elsewhere at this time of the year.
Villagers, however, remain adamant that they would do anything to protect themselves and their property against the jumbos.
The shortage of water in the area is said to be worsened by the presence of the elephants, which allegedly destroy the boreholes available for water.
Villages around Omatjete have been struggling to draw enough water for themselves and their livestock from their boreholes and wells, which are either too shallow, or do simply not bear enough water and have a short life pan.
Omatjete is situated about 60 km west of Omaruru in the Erongo Region.