By Simon Liseli
ANGRY demolished victims of Cowboy whose houses and properties were demolished earlier this month September 8, by Katima Mulilo Town Council took to the streets of Katima Mulilo on Monday.
The concerned residents marched from cowboy with a peaceful demonstration on September 19, to Katima Mayor, and Zambezi Governor where they handed over their petitions.
In their petition which was read by Mr. Peku Frans, the group spokesperson accused the Katima Council that they were demolished without a notice or eviction letter informing them to move out of their plots.
They asked why other informal settlement areas such as Dairy and Macaravani west and east were not demolished as they claim to be in the same situation of land grabbing.
They demanded KMTC Chief Executive Officer Mr. Raphael Liswaniso and Katima Mulilo town mayor, Mr. Lister Shamalaza to respond to their queries as soon as possible, as they do not have accommodation since they were demolished.
They have also condemned the town council for not recognizing their committee and offered to have their community committee with immediate effect.
They also want to know some criteria town council uses to give plots to people. They said from their knowledge at the beginning people used to grab land before being formalized.
Among people who were demolished their names appear on the waiting list of those who were supposed to be given plots at NOVA but all went in vain and were put on hold up to date.
Angry demonstrators indicated in their petition that they won’t move away from their demolished plots until they will be given land to resettle.
Katima mayor Shamalaza received the petition on behalf of the Katima Council and promised that all their concerns and questions will be communicated to demolished victims through their demonstrating committee not Cowboy committee.
“I think all information is well taken and your response will be communicated to you through your demonstrating committee and you will get your response in due cause” Promised the mayor.
Zambezi Regional Governor Hon. Alfea Sampofu , received the petition on behalf of the Zambezi Regional Council and in his words after receiving it He aid, “I have received your petition so I will study it and see all stakeholders who can respond to it because the office of the governor is not the one that gives land.
Town land is given by the town council; governor is just being told that we have given land of this size to our people” Explained Governor Sampofu.
He thanked demonstrators for arriving at the regional council and in handing over their petition.
Sampofu added that the town of Katima Mulilo there is no day that it will grow, “When you go to Lwanyanda, Lwayaha, Cowboy, Makaravani west and east land is not in the hand of the town council, to those who used to travel to Rundu and Katima Mulilo they differ today, Rundu is now bigger because people are giving land to town council to bring developers” He quashed.
According to Sampofu, the town council does not have money only developers can bring money after they have bought land and build houses. “Some are out of this region and they want to buy houses, how are they going to buy them if land is being grabbed, look at Bukalo town it started together with Divundu town and today Divundu has two big malls but at Bukalo nothing, even in this town they are no big malls because of people, no development that will come here if we work like this”
He further thanked demonstrators who matched to the regional council without fighting on their way. He appealed them to go back and wait for their answer as he is not the only person to look on their queries but he still have to consult other leaders in the region.
Mr. Alfred Mundia one of the demolished victims told Caprivi Vision that what happened was brutal because they were not even given a notice or a letter for people to make some arrangements and move out of the said land.
“They did it deliberately if they could have informed us we were going to prepare and move out, not what they did, moving us forcefully in a democratic State like Namibia, it’s unfair and we are shame on this issue” Stressed Mr. Mundia.
He however denied about ten days period that was in a court order given to Lwanyanda residents to move out and relocate to NOVA.
He said that Cowboy people did not receive such a document and they knew that they won’t be demolished but unfortunately they found themselves being demolished without notice, this left their properties being damaged.
“For now we are just suffering as you can see our belongings, we don’t have money to hire vehicles to take them to our relatives who have plots, and we are sleeping here under the trees, our lives are just in hands of God because anything can happen to us especially during night time we don’t even sleep properly because we are in fear of criminals”.
He appealed for help to the government and Good Samaritan to look at them because their houses were demolished without their consent.
“We are suffering here and we do not have money to pay rent, our children who are schooling are in a big problem as we have nowhere to go, we don’t have time to go for piece work because of guarding our goods and soon the rainfall will come, we don’t know where we will run with our belongings is why we are appealing for help, even tents is better” added other demolished victims who opted to remain anonymous.
A young concerned Mabuku Muzwalichaba a pupil of Tobias Hainyeko Combined School whose parent’s house was also demolished is of worry that they have nowhere to go, demolishing of their house has added to their suffering since her mother is not working and are currently sleeping under a tree, no tent because they don’t have money to pay rent or buy tents.
Mabuku lamented that since the demolition of their house her education got affected because of thinking too much when she is in class, thinking that their goods might be stolen, what to eat after school and many other things but before demolition they were living better but now life became difficult.
“Some of us our school uniform got stolen since our goods were left outside, only those who had old uniform helped us and when we are going to leave school some people will say we are kicking-out from school being younger while they know that we do not have accommodation because of the town council who did not inform people to make some arrangements of their properties, they didn’t even call a meeting and for now we are appealing to government to have mercy on us” she lamented.
During the demonstration two young ladies who were amongst demonstrators fainted one at the town council offices when they were handing a petition and the other one at the regional council.