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Katima cuts water to force residents off land

Residents of the Lwanyanda informal settlement have claimed that water has been cut for them by the town council for refusing to move to Nova after the authorities claimed that they are illegally settled.
They have said they are collecting water from wells which are not clean enough while children are being affected in the process.
Back in October 2017, the Katima Mulilo Town Council (KMTC) began tearing down their houses leaving a lot of families stranded in areas like Cowboy, Dairy and Mahohoma.
At the heart of the controversy is the fact that boundaries of the town were declared between 1987 and 1991 and consequently by the office of the surveyor-general and gazetted in 1992.
But the Mafwe Traditional Authority disagreed with these developments and went on to parcel out land to residents who are now up in arms with the Katima Mulilo Town Council.
A petition by the concerned residents disclosed that “The whole portion of this land covers approximately 2 000 hectares that have accommodated 3 000 households of which each member had to pay N$3 525 to the Mafwe Traditional Authority in total some of N$10 575 000.00. Since they claimed the land to be their rightful owner”.
Last week, the residents approached Eagle FM and said water had been cut for them as a move to force out of the land to Nova, a few kilometres out of town.
“The issue is about the Katima Mulilo Town Council. We are not happy as residents of Katima Mulilo because we have been pushed out from the land which we were given by the Mafwe establishment,” said Joseph Nalisa.
They ha also appealed to President Hage Geingob for help while regional governor Lawrence Sampofu has wadded into the furore.
But the residents have expressed mistrust with the authorities and the manner they are handling the problem.
One resident said they simply do not want to go to Nova “because we did not buy the plots of Nova”.
“We have papers that show that we are residents of Lwanyanda because we were given this land by our leaders, the royal establishment. Now they do not want to give us water and they are saying if we do not move, they will not give us water,” she said.
She said water had been cut for them for about two weeks.
More claims are that the town council has plans to sell the land to a private contractor to build houses.
But the residents feel they must be part of the development and not being chucked out.
“In this Lwanyanda, we are really affected because the town council whenever they come they bring the police to threaten us including the mayor who uses the words like the demo we did in 2017 we are coming again to demolish they are pushing us by force so they can sell this land.
We asked them that the development you want to bring in are we not part of it and they said they want to sell the land to a developer called Kayuni Investments. These will be a privately owned house. So, I do not know what we can do now,” said another resident who identified himself as Moses Mifika.
He said people were being arrested in the settlement and fined N$1000.

Julia Heita

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