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Ongwediva plots debacle continues

2023-10-25  Maria Amakali

Ongwediva plots debacle continues

< Maria Amakali

 

An Ongwediva resident who has been at loggerheads with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (Elcin) for over 32 years over a piece of land, said he is not fighting
over it, as he is the rightful owner.

Raimo Angula claims that Elcin tends to claim land which does not belong to it, in the process depriving the rightful owners of their properties.

“The church must stop taking land illegally. They did it with Tate Da Fonsech in the Ohangwena region, and proceeded to do the same in Okahao and Uukwaluudhi. There, they failed as they did not have proof,” he said.

Angula said the church came to Namibia to preach the gospel and their aim was not to acquire land, but they are now “preaching and stealing”.

He was reacting to a recent New Era article titled “Elcin sues over Ongwediva plots”, which reported on a court case in which the church claims they are the rightful owners of erven 6231 and 6232 in Ongwediva Extension 2.

In this court case, the church sued urban and rural development minister Erastus Uutoni over the decision he took on 30 September 2022, directing the Ongwediva Town Council to afford Angula an opportunity to purchase the plots. He further directed that Angula and Elcin try to reach consensus on the improvements made to the guesthouse which is built on one of the plots.

The minister’s directive came because Angula had filed an objection against Elcin’s attempt
to have the land registered under
its name in November 2016. 

To this, Angula said he does not understand why the church is suing the minister when the decision on the land ownership was already decided by the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority, which is the custodian of the land.

He continued that the minister and the town council are not at
fault, as they merely followed the decision of that traditional authority.

“We went through all the traditional processes from the headman to Ediko, Omukuluntu gwoshikandjo, and finally the queen. They all concluded that the land belong to me,” said Angula.

He said the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority indeed informed the church to stop
fighting over land that does not belong to them. Contacted for comment on the matter, Elcin’s lawyer Appolos Shimakeleni said the matter is sub judice.

“All I can say is that we stand by what is contained in our court documents,” he added.

 

Angula’s land claim

Angula claims the land was passed down to him from his late father, Reinhold Nakwanda Kwa
Angula.

He said his father, who worked for the Finnish Mission, bought the plots which were adjacent to Elcin’s land. 

In 1970, the Roads Authority constructed a road passing through the land, dividing it into two portions. His father then moved the family homestead to the second piece of land for agricultural use.

After his father’s death, he inherited both the homestead and the two plots.

It was because of his father’s assistance that Elcin acquired land adjacent to his, he added.

The church was thus allowed to use a portion of the land by his parents during the time when the church and the United Nations needed space to house Swapo returnees. 

Angula said that portion on which the church built a structure and now rent it out to a private school, is still his land.

“I was advised to give them that 800 square metres with cost. But now I will not do it because they have wasted my time and money.
I even ended up in two car
 accidents because of the travelling back and forth to get the matter resolved,” he stated.

Elcin’s land claim

Elcin said it got the plots from the Finnish Mission Society as per an agreement reached on 15 October 1987 in Helsinki, and on 15 November 1987 at Oniipa. The Finnish Mission Society has been in possession of the land since early 1926. “…Wherein it was agreed that the various portions of land in the Republic of Namibia, allocated to and belonging to the Finnish Mission Society, would be transferred to Elcin,” they state in High Court documents.

The church adds that prior to the agreement and before Ongwediva was proclaimed a town, Elcin was already occupying the said land. The land was then divided into two erven - 6231 and 6232 - after the town’s proclamation.

The church built a children’s daycare centre on the land in 1991, which has since been turned into a guesthouse. Elcin, together with the Finnish Mission, built an Elcin Centre in 1926. According to the church, the town council and the minister have been aware of their presence and structures built on the land, and they rendered municipal services to it. Elcin observed that in November 2016 when the town council intended to transfer the land to Elcin, Angula objected to it. - mamakali@nepc.com.na


2023-10-25  Maria Amakali

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