Irate villagers from Elavi No. 2 on Friday took matters into their own hands and forcefully removed a fence that they claim was illegally erected in the communal area. This follows previous failed attempts to seek recourse through the Ondonga Traditional Authority (OTA) and the Land Reform Ministry.
The fence cuts through five villages (Omatope, Onkule, Okwase, Okolo and Ohananai) with a radius of some 50 kilometres, which has left villagers with limited access to better grazing land and waterpoints for both human and animal use. The villagers have given the illegal fencers until Friday (October 28) to come up with a solution or expect the worst, as they plan to remove the fence by force.
This would be the second time the villagers are taking the law into their own hands, as in 2004 they also forcefully removed a fence of a certain Kalifonia, who resided in the area and had reportedly fenced off huge tracts of land, to the detriment of resident villagers whose access to water was consequently restricted.
Last week New Era reported that the villagers are accusing a certain man, known only as Nangolo, of fencing off the whole area of Elavi No. 2 and at the same time dishing out land to his cronies and family, despite the fact that he was also resettled in the area. The other villagers say he has no right to dish out land to his relatives and cronies.
The practice is said to have been happening since 2007, three years after Kalifonia’s fence was removed.
The concerned villagers say they have written several letters to the Land Reform Ministry and the OTA to intervene and solve the disputes, but no solutions have been forthcoming.
It is on this basis that the villagers in a recent letter – that New Era has seen – gave the Land Reform and OTA until the end of this week to find solutions to the issue.
“We are so dismayed by the action of an individual, as it is clearly noted that we are experiencing a severe drought in our country and illegal fencing of communal land is prohibited, yet someone breaks the law.
“We are therefore writing to your good office to hear us, because we have decided to remove the illegal fences on October 28 of individuals who have fenced off huge tracts of land, because this saga has been going on for too long while our cattle are dying.
“We hope this message will reach your office and [that you will] intervene to find an amicable solution to the issue, since we are tired of these actions of the individuals,” the letter, dated October 24, 2016, reads in part.
When contacted for his views on the unravelling land dispute the secretary of the OTA, Joseph Asino, said he could not respond immediately as he was in a meeting.