Formalisation of controversial Tumweneni pending

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Formalisation of controversial Tumweneni pending

ν John Muyamba


RUNDU – The Rundu Town Council has failed to follow the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Erastus Uutoni’s 2022 directive to formalise the controversial Tumweneni area. 

The area developed from acts of land grabbing in 2018.

Questioned about the delay in the formalisation, Rundu mayor Gabriel Kanyanga said since the minister’s directive in 2022, the council had not taken any tangible action or passed a resolution to effect the directive. 

“The resolution has not yet been taken, pending a court order to evict people from the area. The eviction order should first be set aside, and yes, there are hiccups on the ground and legal implications to it. But now the only thing standing in the way is the council resolution to evict the people who illegally occupied the land,’’ he added.

Kanyanga said the formalisation of the area will be started as soon as the eviction order has been revoked. 

“As it stands now, the council is ready, and we are going to put in a submission to revoke the eviction order against the inhabitants of Tumweneni,” he said.

Kanyanga added that council has decided it is no longer going to evict people from the area.

“We are going to authorise that the location be formalised. The council is ready to formalise the area to be part of our settlements,” he promised.

The mayor warned inhabitants of the informal Tumweneni location and other inhabitants of the town in general to desist from more land-grabbing, as this will disrupt the town’s development plans.

Minister Uutoni also directed that the council reverses the High Court eviction order, and develop the area for people to settle orderly as well as for the makeshift Siguruguru Primary School to be part of Tumweneni.

The education ministry, could also not develop the school due to the eviction order, but towards the end of 2023, the school received permanent status after the minister gave the education directorate hope for the formalisation of the area and proper demarcations.

“My directive is that this place should be formalised as a matter of urgency, and the school can find its premises here. You can call a special council meeting, and discuss when to develop this area. I want to see something happening here this year. Everything here should be formalised, and then we move forward,” Uutoni reiterated. 

The minister urged the councillors – despite coming from from different political parties – to put their differences aside and develop Tumweneni by bringing services closer to a large number of inhabitants there.

“We are talking about development. What are we developing if we have a school like this one, my fellow leaders? I could see the big population here, and this is the population that we are expected to develop. 

Now, they are attending classes in tents. When are we going to do something?’’ Uutoni asked the Rundu councillors, including Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo, during his 2022 visit to the area and school. 

However, the school now has a permanent structure on unsurveyed and informal land.