OKANDJIRA-OVITOTO – Close to a 100 villagers of Ovitoto in Otjozondjupa Region on Wednesday staged a peaceful protest urging the government to incorporate the recently procured resettlement farm Otjisazu No. 53, Unit B into the Ovitoto communal area.
The protest follows government’s recent announcement of the resettlement of 37 people from Hochfeld area at farm Otjisazu No. 53, Unit B.
According to the villagers, the former Minister of Lands and Resettlement – now renamed Land Reform – Alpheus !Naruseb assured Ovitoto villagers that if any farm were to be bought in the area it would be incorporated into the Ovitoto communal area where the prosters are living.
“The continuing drought and lack of grazing land in the area are well known,” stressed the group spokesperson, Gerson Kasinee, who delivered the petition to the senior administrator officer at the Omatako Constituency Council, Tareekuje Tjitavi.
Tjitavi received the petition on behalf of the Omatako Constituency Councillor, Issaskar Kauejao.
Kasinee says the request to expand the boundary of Ovitoto is well known to all previous land ministers, including the former president Hifikepunye Pohamba and !Naruseb.
“We want to make it categorically clear that we are not against the 37 beneficiaries of the resettled farm but we are against the manner in which everything was done,” stressed Kasinee.
The protesters want the 37 resettled farmers to be resettled at other bigger resettlement units far from the communal area to allow economic viability for the villagers.
“I have received your petition, I will hand over to the relevant authority, but I cannot promise when they will reply to your grievances,” Tjitavi said.
Kauejao could not be reached for comment as his phone was switched off at the time of going to print because he was attending a workshop in Okahandja.