Grazing conflict with Angola on Ndeitunga’s agenda

Sebastian Ndeitunga

Newly appointed Ohangwena governor Sebastian Ndeitunga says he will plead with the Angolan government to allow Namibian farmers to continue letting their cattle graze in the neighbouring country.

“We have a problem of grazing land in our country and we depend on Angola for grazing land. I will plead with them to not tighten the belt [sic], but to forgive those who have wronged them,” he says.

“Angola and Namibia are one. Angola has assisted us for a long time, even before independence. They must not punish everyone, but those who have broken the law,” the governor says.

Oukwanyama Traditional Authority spokesperson Andrew Naikaku says the traditional leadership does not want people disrespecting other countries’ laws.

“Farmers must just adhere to the laws. We understand that they even erected fences in that country, which is illegal and should not be accepted. We are not in agreement with that,” he says.

Naikaku says the Angolan government has for years allowed Namibians to graze in their country and urges farmers to avoid breaking the laws.

‘CLOSE CUCA SHOPS DURING PLANTING’

Ndeitunga also calls on residents of his region to cultivate and produce food while there is still rain.

“I want to request the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, especially the department responsible for seeds and tractor distribution, to make sure these things are delivered at their respective destinations,” he says.

Ndeitunga says residents have complained to his office that no seeds or tractors have been made available yet.

“While advocating this, the bars and cuca shops must please close as we work on these fields. Hunger can only be defeated if we work. We can’t be fed every time like birds by the government, while there is good rainfall,” he says.

Omusati regional governor Erginus Endjala has encouraged residents of his region to cultivate, saying the region has received 42 tractors from the government.

“Each constituency will have five tractors. This will make work easy, and everyone will be assisted fast, which will result in a good harvest,” he says.

The governor requested with residents to close cuca shops during working hours.

“We will confiscate liquor licences if found open while people are working. We are tired of the government providing drought relief every year even when there was good rainfall,” Endjala says.

During a courtesy visit by Ndeitunga to Oukwanyama Queen Martha Mwadinomho Kristian Nelumbu on Monday, Nelumbu said people who are not cultivating their fields should be reported and should not receive drought-relief food.

She said despite the rains she is still concerned about seeing people sitting at cuca shops consuming alcohol and neglecting their fields.

“These are the same people who will come to the government and claim they are starving, but they do not want to do anything,” Nelumbu said.

Naikaku yesterday told The Namibian: “She said headmen must take note of these farmers’, who are not cultivating their fields and report them so that they do not get drought-relief food when the time comes.”

For the past weeks, the northern parts of the country have received continuous rainfall, resulting in many farmers starting cultivating their fields.

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