A group of community members, residing at the informal areas of Katutura, Ouranda and Otuzemba at Opuwo, staged a peaceful demonstration last week to voice their concerns over what they described as mistreatment by the local town council.
The group accused the council of being incompetent, saying local authority leaders have failed to address their plight, despite numerous petitions.
They specifically referred to a 15-year council resolution, which had directed residents without formal houses to relocate on communal land on the outskirts of the town.
“Many of us went out beyond the town boundary and built our own houses there, with traditional leaders’ written or unwritten consents. During the past three years, the town council has started to demolish our houses without prior notice and evicted us without giving us land,” said group leader Tjirikuwo Kurukuru.
Kurukuru noted that about 15 to 20 shacks and informal houses that were built before 2009 were demolished by town council officials, saying the dismantled material was valued at N$600 000, while only some homeowners were compensated.
Opuwo mayor Albert Tjiuma urged the group to remain patient while council finds an amicable solution to their plight. He also promised the group that council would meet with at least five of their representatives to reach consensus.
Tjiuma denied allegations by the demonstrators that council refused to meet with them, saying only traditional leaders were approached by the group and not the town council.
*Cecilia Xavier works for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology