600 settlers face eviction in Namibia

June 8, 2012

About 600 settlers in the Tsumkwe area run the risk of being evicted from their communal dwellings if government does not come to their aid soon.

The settlers, who have been living in the area since 1987, claim that the late chief of the Hai-khom San and former Member of Parliament, Geelbooi Kashe, gave them permission to settle at Tsumkwe long before it was proclaimed a town in 2007.

But when the new Chief Tsamkxao =Oma of the Ju/hoan Traditional Authority took over in 2000, he set up the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy, some two kilometres from Tsumkwe and apparently started demanding that the settlers leave the area because they have no right to live or graze their animals there.

According to the spokesperson of the group, Juda Nganjone, the settlers who came from the former Ovamboland, Gam in the north-east, the Kavango Region and Okotjituuo in Otjozondjupa have houses and rear close to a thousand cattle, goats, sheep, horses and donkeys and do not know where to go if driven out of the area.

He said some of the people were also born at Tsumkwe and know no other home. Nganjone said the group sought help from the Tsumkwe Consituency Councillor, Rukoro Masheshe, in 2010, but the latter apparently also told them they must go.
“He also told us we must leave. Our animals must not come to town (Tsumkwe),” said Nganjone.

He explained that their animals graze between the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy and the town, but poles have been erected there now – perhaps to fence off the area. Masheshe also told the group to speak to their lawyers if they did not want to move, the settlers claim.
The settlers’ spokesperson said they took up the matter with Otjozondjupa Governor Rapama Kamehozu, but he brushed them off saying ‘he does not know them’.

Instead, the governor brought some more people from Gam (around 32 households) in 2009, looking for a place to settle and for whom borehole are to be drilled, the settlers further claim.

A letter from the Ju/hoan Traditional Authority dated April 16, 2012 and addressed to 22 people including Nganjone, informed the settlers that action would be taken in accordance with the legislation on communal land against the unauthorized grazing of animals, the building of structures or settlement on communal lands.

“I want to notify you that as Chief Tsamkxao =Oma, empowered by the Communal Land Reform Act 2002 and the Traditional Authorities Act 2000, I have not given authority for the grazing of livestock, building of any structures or to settling on the Nyae Nyae communal lands other than by Nyae Nyae community members,” reads the letter.

Nganjone said he has sought an audience with the Minister or Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement but to no avail.


Source: All Africa

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