Tweya grabs 3 000 hectares of landBy: OLAVI HAIKERA
SHAMUNGWA – The Ministry of Lands and Resettlement has verified that the piece of communal land fenced off by Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Tjekero Tweya measures 2 935,86 hectares.
Tweya fenced off the communal area in the Shamungwa village of the Kavango Region’s Mukwe Constituency late last year in order to set up his own farm.
This was in contravention of the Communal Land Reform Act, which prohibits the fencing off of communal land.
Any person found guilty of fencing communal land is liable to a “fine not exceeding N$4 000 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year, or both”. Half of the fenced-off area falls within the Shamungwa Conservancy and is registered and gazetted as such.
The Land Ministry’s verification was done on January 25 this year,
following directives from the Office of the President after news reports that Tweya had fenced off communal land.
According to reports from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement made available to Nampa yesterday, Tweya fenced off land that is surrounded by 10 villages.
These villages are Dikundu, Dithimba, Shanghondo, Shamurombe, Shamungwa, Mukorokosha, Muthinduko, Shamaturu, Shaditunda and Havo.
When the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement visited the fenced-off area, they found five traditional huts, toilet structures, hand ploughs, boreholes, cattle and goat kraals, functioning solar panels and a drinking trough.
Villagers of the area claimed that the fencing off of communal land by the deputy minister denies their own cattle access to grazing, and also denies them access to wild fruit, which they depend on.
According to the report, Shamaturu village headman Sebastian Kashako was allegedly lured into working as Tweya’s employee to fence off the farm.
The fencing-off of the communal area has angered villagers, because the said area has the richest natural resources.
They are worried that if the fence is not removed, the conservancy will not operate, thus further denying them proceeds from the conservancy.
Some of the villagers, who insisted to remain anonymous, said the fencing-off of the communal area will furthermore affect the poor minorities from benefiting from the scarce resources on that land.
The practice of fencing off communal land is allegedly being done by wealthy individuals and high-ranking government officials with influence in traditional authorities.
Tweya earlier declined to comment on the allegations, saying he does not “see an issue”, and that he does not have time for such questions before hanging up the phone.
The leader of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority under which the area falls, Chief Ervin Munika Mbambo, said he will only comment after consulting the relevant stakeholders, including his senior traditional councillors. – Nampa