Elites scramble for farm land in Kavango

RUNDU; Prominent public figures are increasingly eyeing fertile land in the two Kavango regions, a situation not received well by inhabitants.

Ohangwena Regional Governor Usko Nghaamwa and his daughter, Rhauna Nghaamwa are amongst those who have their eyes set on farmland in the Kavango West Region through the local Land Board.

The two have applied for rights of leasehold for Small-Scale Commercial Farming Units (SSCFU) in the newly created Mankupi Constituency in the Ukwangali Traditional Authority of the Kavango West Region.

Nghaamwa and his daughter applied for the Rights of Leasehold for two farms with a land size of over 10 000 hectares altogether for a period of 99 years.

Another prominent figure, who also has his sight firmly set on attaining land, is the leader of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority in the Kavango East Region, Erwin Munika Mbambo. He applied for the Rights of Leasehold over two SSCFUs for an agricultural purpose in the Hambukushu Traditional Authority, for a period of 45 years.

The combined size of two farmlands which Mbambo applied for is over 5 000 hectares altogether.

The Chairperson of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority, Chief Council Christian Simuketa, also applied for land at Siurungu village, measuring 13 hectares, for a gardening project.

Although the applications have not yet been approved and rights granted, inhabitants of the two regions have called on the Kavango East Communal Land Board (KavECLB) to reject the applications, as accepting them will deny ordinary citizens sufficient grazing areas.

Some inhabitants of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority, who refused to be identified in fear of being victimised, told this agency on Tuesday that the Hambukushu area is the smallest under a traditional authority in the two Kavango regions, and it will thus not be justifiable to allocate two farming units to one individual.

The KavECLB published a notice in one of the local dailies on Tuesday, where it invited interested parties to lodge written objections within a period of seven days through the chairperson of the board to the chief or the traditional authority before 29 May 2015.

The Secretary of the KavECLB, Fernando Marungu confirmed to Nampa that his office has received such applications but could not divulge more details.

Chairperson of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority Chief Council, Christian Simuketa told this agency on Wednesday that Nghaamwa was allocated the piece of land a long time ago before the current chief council leadership came into office.

Simuketa explained that Nghaamwa just applied to be given the Rights of Leasehold, as he has never had one.

Efforts by this agency to obtain comments from Nghaamwa provided futile.

Some inhabitants of the Kavango West Region have linked the farmlands’ application to his earlier donation of a Toyota Land Cruiser pick-up to the late leader of the Ukwangali Traditional Authority, Chief Sitentu Mpasi, which was given as a token of appreciation for allowing him to graze his cattle in the Ukwangali area for years.

Meanwhile, Mbambo told Nampa Wednesday that he only applied for one farm because he intends to start farming projects there.

The Hambukushu leader indicated that he intends to set up two water boreholes on the farm, with one set to provide water for livestock, while the other will supply water for household consumption.

It was previously reported in the media that other prominent high government officials who received farming land in the Ukwangali area include the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Inspector-General Leautenant General Sebastian Ndeitunga and Safety and Security Minister Charles Namoloh.