Resource destribution in Okongoro Conservancy unfair: Matundu

OPUWO: The traditional leader of Okapuindja village, Rihitua Matundu has called on the Okongoro Conservancy leadership to re-look their resource distribution policies to ensure fair distribution of resources amongst vulnerable people.

Matundu was talking to Nampa on Friday after witnessing the distribution of elephant meat at Okozoserandu village, which is also situated in the Kunene Region’s Okongoro Conservancy, on Tuesday.

The traditional leader was of the opinion that the process was unfair as only those who were physically strong could help themselves to the meat of the elephant that was killed in the Okongoro Conservancy on Monday.

“I am shocked by the manner in which the community members here at Okozoserandu handled the elephant meat that was supposed to have been distributed to all conservancy members. Everyone who was at the scene was cutting a piece for themselves, which created chaos,” he said.

According to Matundu, the conservancy policy indicates that if an animal is killed for the purpose of distribution or it dies after falling victim to poaching, it must be skinned by the conservancy committee members who are supposed to distribute the meat to different members of the conservancy. Schools are also meant to benefit.

“Here only those who have relatives or friends were being given a piece of meat or you had to cut a piece off for yourself,” he noted.

The chairperson of the Okongoro Conservancy, Mujenda Zahungama told Nampa on Saturday he was present while the meat was being distributed, and admitted that there was favouritism involved.

“The only school in the conservancy, the Otjerunda Combined School received meat but some community members were excluded, even some who are vulnerable,” he noted.

Zahungama however indicated that the traditional leadership of the different villages within the conservancy are partly to blame for the situation as they allegedly only consider people who support them, excluding others who are from the same village, but who do not support them.

“To avoid unfair distribution of resources, especially meat, we also called on all villages that form part of the Okongoro Conservancy to nominate two members so we could establish a skinning committee,” he said.

The committee would be tasked with distributing meat after the skinning of animals killed in the conservancy.

Zahungama however indicated that only two of the eight villages provided the names of their two chosen members last year, while the rest did not do so, making it difficult to set up a committee or to control the skinning and distribution process.

The Okongoro Conservancy chairperson said there is a need for the leadership of the conservancy to reorganise themselves so they can create a committee that will be responsible for these tasks. This would avoid a situation where traditional leaders are in charge of the process.

The elephant bull that was killed at Okozoserandu about 60 kilometres south of Opuwo had threatened the life of a farmer, Rehabiem Matundu. He shot the elephant after it attacked his cattle in their kraal at around 21h00 on Monday.

According to Matundu, the elephant had been acting very violently so he decided to shoot it.

The animal died about 150 metres from the kraal.