Army Commander Fences Off Communal Land

A commander in the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) major-general Thomas Hamunyela has allegedly illegally fenced off a large portion of land in a communal area in the Kavango West region.

The land is situated at the Sivaradi village, some 90 kilometres south-east of Rundu in the region’s Kapako constituency.

The Sivaradi community accused the high-ranking NDF official of being inconsiderate by fencing off large tracks of communal land for his own benefit.

Many villagers told Nampa that the fence prevents the entire village and surrounding areas access to grazing for their livestock as well as to wild fruit.

They indicated that the ongoing drought has already severely depleted grazing.

The villagers spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being victimised by the powerful man, whom they referred to as an ‘armed man’.

They said NDF trucks are offloading different types of building materials on a daily basis, while a water tank with a NDF vehicle registration number plate is stationed at the site to provide water for construction and household purposes.

The community members are thus questioning whether high-ranking army officials are allowed to use government vehicles for private purposes.

Hamunyela had fenced off a mahangu field at the Mburundu village that previously belonged to Mbunza Traditional Authority chief Alfons Kaundu and is now constructing a house at an area which also belonged to Kaundu.

Kaundu told Nampa on Friday that he was not interested in his homestead and mahangu field anymore and offered it to the commander when he approached him for an area to settle on.

The chief stated that he only gave the two pieces of land and not additional land in the communal area.

“I will visit the area soon and if the fence is there, he will have to reduce it or alternatively remove it because fencing in a communal area is not allowed,” Kaundu stressed.

Approached for comment, Hamunyela denied having given the Mbunza chief anything in exchange for the two pieces of land, adding that the additional piece of land was allocated to him by the villagers.

He explained that he did not fence in the area to start a farm only so that his calves do not go astray as some got lost in the past.

Hamunyela indicated that he is ready to reduce the size of the fenced-off area if the community members are dissatisfied.

With regards to the usage of government resources, the major-general said it is indeed allowed.

He said the NDF regularly assist in other sectors such as fire-fighting, drought-relief, and further referred to a recent incident when NDF officials assisted in the construction of the palace of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority in the Kavango West region.

According to him, NDF officials are also busy building the palace of the Ndonga Traditional Authority, saying those are some of the activities the army gets involved in during times of peace. – Nampa

Source : The Namibian