Land Ministry officials denied access to fenced off land

MUPAPAMA: Officials from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement in the Kavango East region were denied access to investigate an alleged illegal fencing case at Mupapama village situated some 50km east of Rundu on Monday.

The three officials were to investigate a case of illegal fencing covering an area of more than 30 hectares which was allegedly fenced off by the Secretary of the farm and land committee in the Shambyu Traditional Authority Kaghuyu Shikerete and his unknown white partner.

The incident is being regarded in the region as part of those act hampering proper land administration in the two Kavango region.

Villagers of Mupapama and surrounding areas have been complaining to their village headmen and Mashare Constituency Councillor Bonny Wakudumo about the alleged fencing off of their area which is mainly used for grazing of their livestock.

Following complaints from the villagers, the three officials headed by the Ministry’s Deputy Director for the north-eastern region Apollinaris Kannyinga, two Development Planners Fernando Marungu and Susan Nchindo then travelled to the area in question to map out the alleged illegal fencing but only to be denied entrance by Shikerete.

It was a heated verbal altercations, as Shikerete told the Lands Ministry officials that they will not in any uncertain terms gain access into the area and threatened them that should they forcefully enter, it will be at their own risks.

The officials did not subsequently enter Shikerete’s land and instead opted to do their measurement outside the fence.

Kannyinga confirmed being denied entry by Shikerete saying as he instructed his workers at the site to deny them entry.

He said the officials just wanted to know the extent of land being fenced off, following a community members complaints in a meeting held recently.

The alleged illegal fencing according to Kannyinga will be forward the issue to the Kavango Communal Land Board to take it up.

Shikerete was unhappy that despite the many cases of illegal fencing being reported on a daily basis to the Ministry of Lands office, the officials failed to investigate such cases and only chose to investigate his area, something he felt was not fair.

Shikerete admitted refusing the Lands Ministry officials entry as he questioned their motives of skipping the more than six alleged illegal fencing incident in the Shambyu area only to target his area.

The Shambyu farm and Land Committee secretary explained that he had never grabbed anybody’s land and that the area being fenced off was previously owned by his father Edward Shikerete who occupied it since 1950.

He told this reporter on Tuesday that he entered into partnership with a certain investor whom he refused to disclose, to develop the area into a campsites which according to him will create employment opportunities to the local people.

According to Shikerete, fencing was completed about four months back while a boreholes has also already been drilled in the area which will further provide water for free to the local people whom according to him have never had water since independence.

(edited)MUPAPAMA: Officials from the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement in the Kavango East Region were denied access to land allegedly illegally fenced off at Mupapama village on Monday.

The village is situated some 50 kilometres (km) east of Rundu, and the land in question – covering an area of more than 30 hectares – was allegedly fenced off by the secretary of the farm and land committee of the Shambyu Traditional Authority, Kaghuyu Shikerete and an unknown partner.

The three officials were supposed to investigate the matter but were prevented from doing so by Shikerete.

Villagers of Mupapama and surrounding areas have been complaining to their village headmen and Mashare Constituency Councillor Bonny Wakudumo about the alleged fencing off of the area, which is mainly used for the grazing of their livestock.

Following complaints from the villagers, the three officials – the ministry’s Deputy Director for the north-eastern regions, Apollinaris Kannyinga and development planners Fernando Marungu and Susan Nchindo – travelled to the area in question to map out the area which was allegedly illegally fenced off, only to be turned away by Shikerete.

In a heated verbal altercation, he made it clear to the Lands Ministry officials that they will not gain access to the area and threatened them by saying that should they forcefully enter, it will be at their own risk.

The officials then opted to do their measurements outside the erected fence. Kannyinga confirmed being denied entry by Shikerete, saying the officials just wanted to determine the size of the land which was fenced off following complaints by community members at a recent meeting.

He said the matter will now be forwarded to the Kavango Communal Land Board. Approached for comment, Shikerete said he is unhappy about the fact that despite the many cases of illegal fencing being reported on a daily basis to the Ministry of Lands, the officials allegedly fail to investigate such cases and “only chose” to investigate his area, something he felt was not fair.

He admitted refusing the Lands Ministry officials entry as he questioned their motives as they apparently ignored more than six other illegal fencing incidents in the Shambyu area and only targeted his area.

The Shambyu farm and land committee secretary stated that he did not grab land, adding that the area which he fenced off was previously owned by his father Edward Shikerete, who occupied it since 1950.

He said he has entered into a partnership with an investor whom he would not name to develop the area into campsites which according to him will create employment opportunities for local people.

According to Shikerete, the fencing was completed some four months back. He said boreholes have also already been drilled in the area which will provide water for free to the locals – who according to him have not had access to a proper water supply since Independence in 1990.

SOURCE: NAMPA