Presidential Intervention Needed At Katima

Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa said the land unrest in Katima Mulilo – which degenerated into physical violence on Monday this week – is “too serious” and warrants intervention by State House.

Shaningwa was responding to questions from New Era on what the government’s stance is on youths making threats of violence as well as employing unruly tactics in their quest for land in the far-eastern town.

On Monday, hundreds of youths in Katima Mulilo illegally occupied land at Macaravan East and eventually took the law into their own hands by throwing stones at town council CEO Charles Nawa whom they accused of failing to address their plight for residential land.

“You are talking too much serious things, [for] which I don’t have answers at this particular moment. There is something that you people must understand I am the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, not the Head of State. There are some decisions that are above me,” said Shaningwa.

Regarding the threatening messages of violence by young people on social media, Shaningwa said: “We are all citizens of this country and I consider the youth included. And we all know what it means to us what Namibia means to us, so that is all I have to say.”

Zambezi Police Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator Abner Agas yesterday told New Era that there has been no arrest yet of any of those involved in the chaos.

“There is no case opened yet by the complainant [the town council]. We are still waiting for the complainant to come and open the case and then we take it from there,” Agas said.

Monday’s anarchy saw close to 200 aggrieved people comprising mainly the youth storming the Katima Mulilo Town Council and stoning Nawa, whom they said failed to address their plight for residential land.

The group allegedly blocked the entrance to the town council offices until Nawa reluctantly came out.

When Nawa proceeded to his vehicle instead of addressing them, the angry mob resorted to throwing stones at him, New Era reported yesterday.

Although there was a heavy police presence, the protestors were not shaken and allegedly also started to throw stones at the police, who in return used teargas to disperse the unruly crowd.

Regarding Monday’s incident, Nawa could not say whether the town council would open a case against the unruly crowd, but confirmed to that after the confrontation the situation calmed down.

“As I am speaking to you now, I am in my office and the situation is back to normal, as they were dispersed and they all went,” he noted.

Namibian Police Force Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga on Monday instructed the police to increase minimum force and disperse the unruly crowd and urged people to avoid taking law into their own hands and follow proper procedures as land is a sensitive issue.

Nawa, who assured that there were no damages to council property or to his car, also cautioned residents to follow the right procedures and exercise patience when applying for land, as it is a lengthy process.

He said the town council is busy servicing land, which will cater for close to 700 plots and the plots alongside the Zambezi River will also accommodate about 150.

More than 1 000 youths have in recent weeks cleared and grabbed portions of Macaravan East on the outskirts of Katima Mulilo, alleging the town council is self-serving and has failed to allocate them single-use residential erven.

They accuse Nawa and the chairperson of the management committee Salubila Maswahu of having multiple residential and business erven at the expense of landless youths at Katima Mulilo.

Source : New Era