Ju/’hoansi Traditional Authority guns for land reclamation
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Ju/’hoansi Traditional Authority this week claimed that their rights and land have been continuously infringed upon and ignored since the well documented invasion of farmers into the area.
According to the Ju/’hoansi Traditional Authority, since 2009, the Ju/’hoansi Traditional Authority and the Nyae Nyae Conservancy Community endeavoured to reclaim the rights to their land and resources.
“In the Kavango region and previously in Nyae Nyae such invasions had been swiftly dealt with. Land and resource rights are taken very seriously in Namibia and flaunting such rights cannot be tolerated otherwise it will lead to an anarchic situation whereby people just grab land and resources illegally,” Ju/’hoansi Traditional Authority Leader, Chief Tsamkxao Coma said.
However, Tsamkxao said, in Nyae Nyae, attempts to engage the invading community and its authorities and ultimately laying the situation at the justice system’s feet has not had the same desired effect.
“There has been a real lackluster reaction from the authorities as well as the justice system and the people in these marginalised communities have been failed completely,” the Chief said.
The Nyae Nyae community are the responsible custodians of the land and resources and have been gazetted as both a Conservancy and Community Forest.
“However, despite this, neither the Ministry of Environment and Tourism nor the Ministry of Agriculture Water and Forestry have come to their defence in supporting the legislation under which Nyae Nyae was gazetted and which gave them the legal right to utilise the resources in the area,” Tsamkxao said.
He further said that this meant that a very unwelcome situation has arisen, where the people who are legally on the land and utilising the resources sustainably have to gather their own evidence against the farmers who are knowingly grazing their cattle illegally without regard for sustainability of the resources, while the authorities and ministries have just looked on. Now, Tsamkxao has engaged legal support to initiate civil cases against six farmers.
“Like our neighbours in Na Jaqna, we have been tolerant and followed due process but it did not have the desired effect. We have been forced to take this civil action to ensure that our land and resources are returned to the community to whom they rightfully belong. We are ready to take our case to the International Courts if necessary,’’ Tsamkxao said.