Illegal cattle - Grazing situation
In April 2009, cattle farmers from outside Nyae Nyae Conservancy and Community Forest unlawfully and without authority, entered our area. The Chief has never given any of them permission to settle or graze here, but many refuse to leave and are still grazing their livestock illegally every day on our lands.
We tried to get them to voluntarily leave but they have refused and disrespect the Traditional Authority of the area. Finally after many meetings, and appeals to the ministries that should protect our land rights as a Conservancy, Community Forest and Traditional Authority area from such abuses, we had to use the law. We told that we must collect the evidence of wrong-doing ourselves and submit the information to the police. We have opened 2 illegal grazing cases:
- The first case in July 2015 was made against 4 persons whose cattle have been repeatedly photographed and identified illegally grazing. It took nearly a year for the Tsumkwe Police to finish their investigation. The case was eventually sent to the prosecutors in Grootfontein in July 2016, but the persecutors have still not even set a court date.
- The second case was made in August 2016. The police have not been able to finish their investigation. The delay seems to be that the Veterinary Services have not provided the names of the owners of the ear tag numbers for illegally grazing cattle that were recorded.
Why after 8 years are government agencies moving so slowly and are so reluctant to support this community in defending their legally given land rights? Why are the relevant agencies so unwilling to use the Acts and laws that they created to address the situation. The Nyae Nyae community invests money and labour in managing its wildlife and forest resources according as required to strict government sustainable resource use programmes for conservancies and community forests. Yet those illegally grazing their cattle, who do NOT follow government’s sustainable livestock and rangeland management programmes are able to illegally degrade the natural resources of the Nyae Nyae Community.
We want to pull together and be part of the President’s Harambee Prosperity Plan, but how can we do this is the relevant ministries and authorities fail to protect us from this ongoing and systematic abuse?
We ask for action from MAWF, the police and the judiciary service in expediting these cases as well as applying themselves to investigating the situation thoroughly and addressing once and for all, so that we can continue to develop our community.