Katima Mulilo-Silinda Mubonenwa who stands accused by residents of Mpyu, some 15 kilometres east of Katima Mulilo, of illegally harvesting mopane logs has denied the allegations, saying he is simply clearing the land for subsistence ploughing.
Mubonenwa said he has a marketing and transportation permit (seen by New Era), which allows him to harvest the mopane and transport it for a market in Katima.
He has also denied allegations that his market is in South Africa.
“I am not selling the logs to South Africa. They should explain which border I use. When I transport the logs from my field I take them to my village from where I transport them for a market in Katima Mulilo. In my own field, if I harvest the logs while I have permits, is it a problem?” he said.
One of the complainants who spoke to New Era, Samwele Samwele, accused Mubonenwa of illegally occupying the land where he is harvesting the mopane.
Mubonenwa however says the piece of land has been given to him by the khuta. He further stated that he cannot share more information about the land dispute because the case is before the court.
Samwele had also accused Mubonenwa of opening a protection order against him, in order for him to freely harvest the mopane.
“In August he reported that I went to threaten his people (workers) with a gun, while I was on official duty in Hardap Region,” he said.
Mubonenwa however claims that he opened a case against him because it is not a secret that he had been threatening to shoot him.
“He is the one who is always threatening me. I have evidence that he is always threatening me, that he will shoot me. That he will kill me if he finds me at that area. He has been insulting me, but I have never threatened him,” said Mubonenwa.
The forestry department in Katima Mulilo that admitted knowing the dispute at Mpyu remained tight-lipped on the matter, saying they will issue an official statement at a later stage.