A disgruntled farmer, Robbie Hoveka, residing in the Eiseb Block, a settlement in Omaheke region, has accused another farmer Barney Karuuombe for using his influence and position to break the law and do as he pleased by cutting down a fenced area meant to prevent livestock from straying to other farms in the area.
Hoveka said he erected the fencing that passed through Karuuombe’s homestead or slightly to try and prevent cattle from migrating to other camps or nearby villages.
“He is using his power and influence to do what he wants and this is inconveniencing us in a lot of ways,” lamented Hoveka.
A case of malicious damage to property was registered against Karuuombe.
“I erected a new fence to keep animals within the vicinity of the village but he decided to cut it without consulting me. I did the honourable thing and called him to deliberate on where I can erect the wire,” stated Hoveka.
He has been farming in that area for about four years now with other farmers, including Karuuombe, saying the damage to his property is about N$4 000.
“That wire alone was about N$4 000 and was erected over a long distance. I also realised that after the wire was cut down, five of my cattle migrated to another area far away, which meant I had to fork out about N$1 000 to have them brought back,” said Hoveka, who is a traditional councillor in the Hoveka Royal House.
Contacted for comment by New Era, Karuuombe said, initially, Hoveka decided to erect a homestead at a place he had already demarcated but to avoid conflict, Karuuombe decided to mark somewhere else, about two kilometres from Hoveka.
“In December, he erected a fence which reached my side, and somehow, it blocked my path from moving freely, which led to me making another path. Recently, I got a call saying Hoveka has further extended his fencing and is now in my space, which included a tree where I park my car; that tree was now in his camp,” stated Karuuombe.
He wondered why Hoveka would act in such a greedy manner.
“He got too close to me and that’s an invasion of privacy – and based on that, I decided to cut the fence. I had no choice but to remove the fence to gain entrance and access to where I stay. He cannot trade in illegality (illegal fencing) and expect to be honoured for that. He has also been known as a trouble maker in villages he has stayed in,” Karuuombe lashed back.
He further stated the insinuation that he is using his position as a senior official at the SADC Parliamentary Forum to do what he did is unfounded because he has resigned from that post.
“I am acting in my capacity as a resident of Eiseb and citizen of this country; there is no link to the office I held and that is what he wants to do. I am not a SADC employee; I have resigned,” responded Karuuombe.
On trying to resolve matters amicably as stated by Hoveka, Karuuombe said he was never contacted regarding that. “After I cut his fence, I called him and he cut my call, which prompted me to write him a message about his behaviour. He is not telling the truth when he says he contacted me; I would have been aware of that,” mentioned Karuuombe.
In 2018, President Hage Geingob, at the second land conference, gave a directive that all illegal fences should be identified and notice should be given to those involved in illegal fencing to remove their fences.
Section 18 of the Communal Land Reform Act (Act 5 of 2002), enacted in 2003 and takes a strong position against the erection of fences on communal lands.
The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) has called for the removal of illegal fences in communal areas, saying they increase inequality between those Namibians that can afford fencing materials and those that are fenced out.
Illegal fencing is prevalent in Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions. – firstname.lastname@example.org