Drought sparks tension in Erongo

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Ohungu – The drought in the country has led to conflict among some communal farmers in Erongo Region, New Era learnt during a recent visit to Ohungu Conservancy.

Some farmers from areas such as Omajette and Otimbingwe who are hard hit by the drought are relocating their cattle to !Oe #Gan communal area in a quest for greener pastures.

But this is causing dissatisfaction and division among farmers in !Oe #Gan – to such an extent that they tried to block a farmer from entering !Oe #Gan communal area two weeks ago.

The barred farmer apparently did not follow the prescribed procedures that regulate such relocation by comunal farmers hard hit by the drought.

According to some farmers although the farmer applied to be allowed to farm in !Oe #Gan communal area he did not wait for approval and just moved onto farm Erica, which is situated between Usakos and Arandis in !Oe #Gan. The farmer relocated with 100 cattle.

However, this nearly degenerated into anarchy and the police were summoned to prevent the farmer from relocating to the area and causing social instability among farmers.

Farmers in the area said the !Oe #Gan Traditional Authority demanded the necessary permits and documentation from the farmer who at that stage had no authorisation papers.

“The animals were impounded and the local leadership consulted the Windhoek-based leadership of the !Oe #Gan to see if their actions were approved by the leadership in Windhoek and at that stage the application was not even a day old,” one of the sources that spoke on condition of anonymity said.

When contacted for comment on Friday the Okohmbahe councillor, Drusila Guriras, said the farmer disregarded all policies in place and went ahead without consulting the  people in charge.

When contacted for comment, Gurirab Theofelus who oversees farm Erica said the farmer after being  denied entry made a false declaration the animals belonged to his mother who is also farming at Erica.

“But we found out that the animals were collected from different farmers as all of them had different tags and were not even registered in his mother’s name,” he said.

He added that they normally assist fellow farmers who are suffering under the severe drought – but that is if they follow the right procedures and go through all the structures.

“Daures and the !Oe #Gan communal land  received some rain and are better off in terms of coping with the drought, seeing that they have sufficient water and  grazing. But allowing a farmer with 100 cattle is putting our grazing in jeopardy. He will just return to his area once it rains and his area has recovered,” he added.

by Eveline de Klerk

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