Ueitele embroiled in land saga

16 April 2019 | Local News

A man who was resettled on a farm near Gobabis claims to be on the brink of losing his land after allegedly refusing to surrender a portion to Omaheke governor Festus Ueitele as “compensation”.

Obed Hamutenja claims he has faced constant “harassment and intimidation” from Ueitele and a regional land reform official who say they went out of their way to ensure he was resettled for 99 years on portion 13 of Farm Kranz No. 169, situated about seven kilometres outside Gobabis.

“The governor approached me in 2016 and explained how he fought tooth and nail to ensure that I get this plot, and that in return, someone would come and stay with me,” Hamutenja said.

He said he was also approached around the same time by an official from the land reform ministry who allegedly demanded a heifer for his efforts.

“How did you go out of your way to help someone you don't know? And if I was helped, and was not deserving, does this mean there were other, more deserving Namibians who were overlooked?” Hamutenja asked.

On 15 June 2018, Hamutenja petitioned land reform executive director Peter Amutenya.

His letter was confirmed by the ministry's deputy director in Omaheke, Mclesia Mbaisa. She also confirmed Ueitele's visits to the farm but indicated these were done in his official capacity.

Repeated efforts to reach Amutenya on his cellphone failed. He also did not respond to text messages.

Ueitele did not shy away from the role he played in the resettlement, as he held the view that if given the opportunity, Hamutenja could succeed as a crop farmer.

Ueitele said after the committee received complaints that Hamutenja was using the plot for purposes other than it was allocated for, which was crop farming, he took on the issue in his capacity as regional resettlement committee chairperson. He vehemently denied asking Hamutenja to surrender a portion of the farm.

“What am I going to do with 26 hectares?” Ueitele asked.

“This man is just trying to cover his back, because when we went there, we found out from his neighbour that he bought solar systems, submersible water pumps and pressure pumps from this man (Hamutenja). The neighbour said this man sold these things to him, but then he asked the neighbour to supply him with water. That's why we asked the ministry to go there.”

Hamutenja said the governor can submit his evidence to the police, so the law can take its course.


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