Uukwaluudhi King Angry Over Forest

UNCONTROLLED cutting down of trees in the Uukwaluudhi traditional district of Omusati region is threatening to destroy a protected forest, according to king Josia Shikongo Taapopi.

He pinpointed his followers as well as people from neighbouring traditional authority districts such as Ombalantu, Ongandjera, Uukwambi, Uukolonkadhi as the culprits.

Taapopi told The Namibian that despite several warnings from him and his traditional council people continue cutting trees in the protected forest, apparently to construct their traditional homesteads and even sell them to other people.

He has now reported the illegal activities to the police in the Omusati region.

Police at Okahao, together with Taapopi’s traditional guards, rounded up some of the culprits already.

“I didn’t want to lay a charge against them, but told them to stop the practice. However, this did not stop and they continue to destroy the forest. They cut down trees, make poles from those trees, load them on their trucks and bakkies and go sell them or use them to make their homesteads,” Taapopi said.

As the culprits are refusing to stop, Taapopi also called in the officials from the forest division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.

When the ministry officials showed reluctance, Taapopi said he ordered their traditional guards to arrest the culprits and to bring them to his palace.

The result was that several trucks fully loaded with poles were confiscated and are now at the king’s palace. “Namibia, especially here in the central northern areas, does not get enough rain because of deforestation. So, we have to protect our forests and our environment in order to get rain, and even for our future generations,” Taapopi said.

The king said some of those people who are destroying the forest, came from other traditional districts who do not have grazing areas.

They came begging for grazing land, but are now destroying the forest, Taapopi said.

“We have felt sorry for these brothers and sisters, because they do not have grazing areas, but now they are disappointing us by cutting trees and destroying the forest. If these people do not want to obey my order, I am calling upon the President of this Republic and his Cabinet to intervene immediately and assist me to stop these people, destroying the environment,” Taapopi said.

Source : The Namibian