Wenela Land Battle Intensifies

A deepening hostility between the two institutions entrusted with development in the region, the Zambezi Regional Council and Katima Mulilo Town Council have reached boiling point.

The regional council led by Zambezi Regional Governor, Lawrence Sampofu, convened a meeting on Wednesday with Wenela residents and senior staff from Katima Mulilo Town Council who annexed for themselves large chunks of prime land at Wenela. The meeting was summoned to resolve the issue of residents who are residing in the area illegally and to make way for a planned green scheme project.

At the centre of the row is a swathe of land in the vicinity of Wenela whose ownership has sown bad blood between the regional council on the one hand and the town council and Wenela residents on the other. Both the regional council and the Katima Town Council claimed ownership of the piece of land.

Residents of Wenela who have teamed up with three town council employees were told by Zambezi Regional Governor Sampofu at the meeting that they should vacate the land occupied illegally, failing which they would be forcefully evicted by the police.

“This land was confirmed to belong to government. We want to start with a green scheme project that can address poverty and unemployment on a large scale. All the people who are here are supposed to move out. By 8 June you should have moved out. We don’t want to involve the police. If you find government property, you don’t just get in without following the right procedures. We want order,” warned Sampofu.

Sampofu who showed a title deed and read excerpts of the Government Gazette of 2008, further cleared the air regarding the ownership of the land, saying that a meeting was held last year between the regional council, the town council and a government attorney where the issue of ownership was amply clarified.

“We held a meeting last year between the regional council, the town council and a lawyer from the Office of the Attorney General for the lawyer to clarify the ownership of this land. The lawyer stated that the Government of Namibia is the owner of the land. The land therefore is in the custody of the Zambezi Regional Council as the regional government. Extension of the boundary of Katima town means the town council is only responsible to provide services up to Wenela,” explained Sampofu.

A clearly infuriated Sampofu further accused some town council individuals of inciting residents at Wenela to refuse to vacate the area, stating that at the conclusion of a meeting between the two institutions, one of the resolutions that were taken and signed by him and the mayor was that residents must vacate the houses currently being occupied illegally. “We understand there are some people who are inciting you not to move out. I aise you to move out, we don’t want to involve the police in this matter. The resolutions that were taken were signed by both the governor and the mayor. One of the resolutions was that people must vacate. Some people are even threatening to boycott elections. We cannot force people to vote,” Sampofu said.

Sampofu further revealed that some farming equipment that were left behind by NDC after it had winded up its activities remain unaccounted for and that the matter has been handed over to the Anti-Corruption Commission to pursue.

“When Bio Fuel left, we understand there was some agreement with the Shalli Group. Some of the farming equipment is missing. We don’t know what happened to them. The matter is with the Anti-Corruption Commission,” said the governor. The meeting almost became heated when the chairperson of the town council management committee Salubila Maswahu stood up and alleged that the regional council was using double standards by failing to evict a white person who runs a bar in the same area. “Why should the white person be treated differently? Why was she not served with an eviction order just like the rest of the people? People should not move until when that white person also moves,” stated Maswahu.

Sampofu cautioned Maswahu to stop inciting others, explaining that an eviction order was already served on everyone in the area including the bar owner.

Source : New Era