Katima Mulilo-The Kwala family from Imukusi area in the Zambezi Region are at loggerheads over the awarding of a piece of communal land to an investor who intends to develop the area and establish a lodge.
The land in question is the old Hippo Lodge some eight kilometres northeast of Katima Mulilo.
New Era was informed some family members agreed to sell the piece of land, and proceeded to approach the Mafwe Tribal Authority sub-khuta of Imukusi, where approval was granted. An agreement letter to sell the land was drafted and signed by three family members and a representative of the sub-khuta, which was then forwarded to the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement for approval.
The letter in possession of New Era reads; “The Kaluka family (Simasiku family, Sakutiya family, Kwala family) agreed on the 29th of May ’17 before the Imukusi Lyanapu of Namalubi Khuta of Imukusi area to give Hippo Lodge to a Namibian national Hertz Hunter to develop the place into a lodge and give employment to the Imukusi community (and) for a lease of 25 years.”
However, some members of the Kwala family oppose this agreement stating that not all of the family members were consulted. They have drafted their own letter which they also intend to forward to the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement.
In the letter the Kwala family oppose the sale of the land in question.
New Era has also learnt that the investor has already fenced the said piece of land and the Kwala family have described his act as an “illegal occupation of land without the consent of the entire community members”.
“A fraction of community members have corruptly allocated land to the investor in a secretly manner without our knowledge,’’ further read the letter.
In the letter the family pleads with the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement to intervene on a serious note because the family has “seen that there are illegal activities of land grabbing, illegal fencing and building of family structure going on at Hippo Lodge plot”, the letter states.
Family member from the opposing group Dobson Kwala stressed the land in question belongs to everyone but not all were consulted when the decision was made to sell the land.
“All operations at the plot should cease until all the family members agree whether we want to sell or not, we want the plot divided into two, so that we can also decide what to do with our part,” said Kwala.
Efforts to get comment from the family members who agreed to sell the land proved futile. However a source who spoke to New Era accused Kwala of being against the khuta.
The deputy director in the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Charles Musiyalike, stated he had not received either of the letters. He however pointed out that in case such a letter is received it will be forwarded to the Regional Land Board, which normally deals with such cases.