• September 22nd, 2019

Himbas deprived of vital income

Special Focus, National
Special Focus, National

Okjaandjamwenyo The Himba community at Okjaandjemwenyo in Ruacana is accusing the Uukolonkadhi Traditional Authority of depriving them of their only source of income, a nearby stone mine. Headman of the Himba Tjitonga Kakwena says the revenue generated from the stone mine was used to pay for water supplied to the inhabitants of six villages. Their only water-point has since been closed due to lack of payments, as funds dried up after the mine was taken over. Kakwena related that they were advised to mine stones and sell these to people who travel to Ondangwa, in order to make money to sustain themselves, instead of waiting for infrequent food hand-outs from government. The community alleges that the mining site has been handed to an individual, who has since acquired a mining licence. Kakwena said their only source of income was handed over to this individual to mine without engaging him, as the headman. Kakwena also said their struggle to defend their only source of income did not yield any results, even after they wrote several letters to various offices, including the Uukolonkadhi Traditional Authority, under whose jurisdiction their village resides. Instead, Kakwena says, when they approached the Uukolonkadhi Traditional Authority they were informed that the chief’s decision is final and cannot be reversed or challenged. “We were told that we cannot question the chief’s decision, because he has the final say,” members of the community confirmed. “This was our only source of income, we depended on this to pay for our water, but since then we now travel a vast distance to secure water at a nearby mountain,” Kakwena complained. The Himba community is now pleading with the traditional authority to restore their only source of cash income, or to at least engage the community so that they can continue to be part of the mining operation. Contacted for comment, the Chief of Uukolonkadhi Traditional Authority, Daniel Shooya, refused to dwell on the matter and instead summoned this reporter to his office on Thursday. “I will not answer you,” Chief Shooya said firmly. He further said he has nothing to do with the mine. “I have nothing to do with that. That is just between those who have been dealing with it,” he said without going into further details.
New Era Reporter
2015-08-21 11:19:45 4 years ago

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