Chief denies circumventing resettlement procedures

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Ngaevarue Katjangua

Windhoek-Chief Stefanus Gariseb of the /Gobanin Traditional Authority has denied accusations by Okahungu residents that he is sidestepping land procedures and simply resettling people as he wishes.

Residents of Okahungu village in Otjinene Constituency have accused Gariseb of having no respect for their property when he allegedly sidestepped resettlement procedures and resettled people on property such as gardening fields and camped-off grazing land.
“Chief Gariseb has been troubling us for years – he doesn’t consult us when resettling people in our village as he is supposed to,” complained one resident.

“He resettled people like Zimbabweans and some from Sesfontein and Kavango but claims there is no place for residents who want to expand their territory.

“He doesn’t consult us nor has our interest at heart as our representative,” a spokesperson of the aggrieved residents complained.

However, in a telephonic interview with New Era, Gariseb denied the allegations, saying: “I have done no such thing and for as long as there is no proof that a certain piece of land belongs to someone I am by law in a position to resettle someone wherever I want.”

Residents noted they have knocked on many doors such as the office of the regional councillor in Otjinene and written to the Gobabis Land Board that promised to send a delegation to the village and review the situation, but to no avail.

Regional Councillor for Otjinene Constituency Erwin Katjizeu sided with residents, stating that he has learned about the situation in Okahungu and the accusations they are making are true.

“Okahungu residents have bemoaned this issue for years and approached me this year. I visited the village in February and I found two to three households resettled on other people’s property. I therefore told the chief and his headmen to stop any resettlement until we solve things with the Gobabis Land Board and the lands ministry.”

Mclesia Mbaisa, the head of land resettlement in Omaheke Region, responded: “We have received a complaint and set up a delegation to go to Okahungu and do an investigation.
The date for the visit is not yet set as it depends on the availability of board members and transport from the ministry, but we are aware of the situation and working on it.”

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