By: Wonder Guchu
There is a piece of land at Muroro village in Kavango East that is being claimed by three parties. This land lies between Muroro, Mupapama, Fumbe and Namuwawa villages.
First, there is the Shipapo WaMbambangandu CC that wants to establish an irrigation scheme to grow blue berries.
The CC is jointly owned by the former presidential youth advisor Wensel Mavara, NBC cameraman Festus Mbendeka and Edward Sikerete, the chairperson of the Shambyu chief’s council.
On Tuesday, Mavara said they applied for the land in 2013 and they followed all the procedures required to get the 736.9ha piece of land.
The second claimant to the land is the Kappinga Kamwalye community that says they were granted the land including the portion which Shipapo WaMbambangandu CC claims to have been given.
The Kappinga Kamwalye community wants to run a conservancy, which according to documents seen by The Villager, was designated in 2018.
Although the Kappinga Kamwalye community has documents that show they objected to the offer given to the Shipapo WaMbambangandu CC, Mavara says there is an agreement for co-existence.
So far, the Shipapo WaMbambangandu CC was on course of debushing the land until about two weeks ago when the police stopped the work.
The police came onto the scene, according to Mavara, after a third claimant to the land – Lucaszi Wakudumo – emerged. Lucaszi is governor Bonifatius Wakudumo’s young brother.
Sikerete told Eagle FM on Monday that they got the land in question first and that the land board said the two projects can co-exist.
“We got the land before the conservancy in 2016-17. If you want to know the truth, just get the applications for both the Kappinga Kamwalye and Shipapo WaMbambangandu CC,” he said.
He also said the reason why the two projects can co-exist is because they involve members of the community.
Shipapo WaMbambangandu CC Case
Mavara said they were given the leasehold for 99 years to start an irrigation scheme to employ about 5 000 people.
“We followed all procedures. We held meetings with community, traditional authorities as required by the land board,” he said.
Mavara further said the agriculture ministry called for objections to the granting of the leasehold and no one came forward and the application was approved in March 2020.
“We managed to get an investor for the project to grow blue berries. Everything was going on well until about two weeks ago when the police came to stop the work,” he claimed.
He also said that they had agreed that both the Shapopi WaMbambangandu CC and the Kappinga Kamwalye would co-exist.
The police, Mavara said, told them that they had been sent by the regional commander Commissioner Ngondo to stop the work because the land ownership was being disputed.
The Villager spoke to deputy Commissioner Vilho since commissioner Ngondo was said to be out of office.
Dep Commissioner Vilho said he had just returned to the office and did not know anything about the land issue.
The Villager has letters of endorsement written by the Shambyu Traditional Authority, and the Muroro Village Headman Nankema Shirongo.
There are also signatures of community members who approved the project.
The Kavango East Land Board dated 27 July 2020 also says the CC had been given the land and that the Kappinga Kamwalye should co-exist with the irrigation scheme.
Kappinga Kamwalye Case
This community argues that there is no way an irrigation scheme can co-exist with a conservancy.
In their latter of appeal dated 28 August 2020 addressed to the agriculture executive director Percy Msisika, the community says the granting of the land was inappropriate.
The community accuses the Shambyu Traditional Authority and “some few individuals, including the headman of Muroro in fraudulently and corruptly selling the land… without approval from the affected community members under whose jurisdiction the land is situated.”
They also say that although they submitted their letter of objection on 20 December 2019, it was only tabled on 15 August 2020.
“We have also learnt that the approval of the leasehold for this particular land was ongoing, and was granted three month after the Kavango East Communal Land Board had received our letter,” the community says.
They add that their letter of objection was not discussed on time, resulting in the land board acting without transparency.
According to the community, the land in question is not in Muroro village but between Fumbe, Namuwawa and Mupapama villages, which means the VaShambyu Traditional Authority colluded to mislead the people.
The Kappinga Kamwalye wants the project not to continue at the land until the matter has been investigated and amicably resolved.
They also want the approved leasehold given to Shipapo WaMbambangandu to be cancelled and the communal land board to hold meetings with the affected communities to ascertain the situation.
Lastly, the community wants the Shipapo WaMbambangandu owners to be known because they claim there is a mismatch in the information provided by the Shambyu Traditional Authority.
The ministry Says Case Still On
The executive director in the ministry of agriculture Percy Msika said he was aware of the land issue at Muroro and the complaint lodged with his office.
He, however, said the case has not been finalised yet and that they had ordered an investigation into the matter.
About the claim that Lukas Wakudumo has put a stake on the land, Msika said the ministry could not have dubiously allocated the same piece of land to three people.
“That’s impossible,” he said.
The current Kavango East Communal Land Board Bernadino Mbumba Lukas said they gave information to the ministry’s investigation team.
“As a new board, there is nothing we can do now. Whatever they do with the information is up to them,” he said.
Lukas also said Shipapo WaMbambangandu can work on the land because they have a leasehold agreement and there has not been any new complaints regarding the ownership of the land.
Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo did not pick up his phone on Tuesday.