Katima Mulilo Land Scuffles Tribal, Political – Council

KATIMA Mulilo mayor Charles Matengu and the chief executive officer, Charles Nawa, have both said the disturbances at the town that saw them held hostage by land-hungry people were caused by forces working behind the scenes.

More than 200 people besieged council offices on Monday, demanding that they should be allowed to put up structures in the Macaravan area where they had claimed plots on Saturday.

A stand-off ensued that saw the CEOand council workers held hostage for about three hours before the police moved in to diffuse the situation. The council yesterday said there were no reports of violence at the town after they skirmished on Monday.

Nawa told The Namibian yesterday that he believed “it is more than just the plots”.

“If it was just about the land issue, why attack the CEO? They came here for reasons only known to them after allocating themselves plots in the bush,” he said, adding that he believes tribal connotation was attached to the attack.

“The mobs are from the other side of the region,” he said, declining to give a face to the person he was referring to. He said the regional office is investigating the situation, but will continue to service land to give to those who applied procedurally. “We are in the process of developing about 800 plots. People must just be patient,” he said.

Matengu, who blamed the attack on “power-hungry” individuals instead of tribal hatred, said that they would go ahead with a court interdict to have anyone coming near the plots at Macaravan east arrested for trespassing.

“It is campaign time and people will do anything to get votes for the regional and local authority elections,” he said, declining to give names. Matengu also said the council will be forced to consider allocating plots without water to the residents just to remedy the violent situation.

“What else can we do? If we tell them to wait for the plots to be serviced, there will be another uproar,” he said, adding that those who first applied for land will be prioritised. Matengu was also convinced that not everyone who turned up at Monday’s protests is a Namibian citizen.

“Some of them are foreigners who have set up shacks around the town and jumped on the land bandwagon,” he said.

Matengu said he had requested the police and the army in March this year to launch “operation clean-up”, where police will bring down illegal shacks and demand residents to produce identification documents to prove they are Namibians, but said nothing was done.

Meanwhile Affirmative Repositioning leader Job Amupanda has threatened that the protests will continue, despite stating that he was not behind Monday’s attack.

Amupanda, in a statement yesterday, said that Nawa “deserves the VIP treatment he received” and said that reports that he was stoned during the protests were untrue and that he was spreading lies by characterising peaceful youth as violent.

“In the coming weeks, we will be travelling to Katima Mulilo to strategise with our youth and hold mass meetings,” he said, adding that this was just the beginning.

Reacting to Amupanda’s statement, Nawa said he does not work for the AR movement but for government. “That is their opinion,” he said.

Source : The Namibian