Villagers up in arms over ‘unfair meat demands’

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Obrein Simasiku

Omuthiya-Community members who slaughter their cattle in Omuthiya have accused the sub-district headman Paavo Sheepo of being a parasite after he allegedly demanded all the hides and a piece of meat from each beast that was slaughtered.

“The headman is sucking us up – we pay a N$20 fee when booking for a slaughter date, but he still goes ahead and demands a chunk of meat (rib meat) from each individual plus the skin. He came up with this law and imposed it on us, but we are tired of his practice – the booking fee should be enough,” complained one regular community member who sells meat, but preferring to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal.

“We are totally tired – when you refuse to give him the skin and meat then you should know that your chances of slaughtering again are very rare. He will make sure you don’t slaughter,” the complainant further claimed.

Sheepo did not deny taking the skin but said he buys the hide from willing cattle owners for N$30. With regard to the meat, he said it goes to the boys who normally help to slaughter and skin the cattle and he does not receive anything.

“One has to make a living one way or the other – I have a family and kids to feed. I made a research, saw the opportunity and grabbed it. I realised there was a place in Ondangwa that buys hides so I employed someone to be collecting skins from cattle owners for a fee of N$30. Previously the skins used to pile up at the area and were not put to good use. It is a willing seller process and not a forcing matter as others are alleging. If the owner doesn’t want we don’t force,” explained Sheepo.

“With regard to the meat they claim I take daily, that’s not true. The boys that are doing the voluntary work of looking after the cattle while awaiting the slaughter date, butchering and skinning, receive a piece of meat, which is the back of the neck and share it among themselves. That was a decision taken by us (traditional council), that they should not be receiving money but meat, and I don’t receive any share from that,” he said.

But he said if he is offered any meat by cattle owners he will definitely accept it.
“Traditionally the headman should be getting a rib from every cattle slaughtered in the area, and that is the practice everywhere in our tradition.”

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