Livestock presents a challenge to the development of Opuwo

Niël Terblanché

Opuwo, the capital of the Kunene Region, is currently grappling with an influx of livestock within its boundaries.

This phenomenon has raised concerns among the Opuwo Town Council, which has issued a stern warning to livestock owners to contain their animals within designated areas.

According to Karui Rikambura, the Town Council’s technical director, the livestock situation within Opuwo has become increasingly problematic, with goats, sheep, cattle, and pigs now a common sight within the town limits.

“Some of these animals are even brought in from neighbouring villages, exacerbating the issue.

Rikambura described the situation as both concerning and backward.

He stressed that the unrestricted presence of livestock within the town poses a significant challenge to its development.

“Despite the council’s best efforts to address this issue, it seems that keeping animals out of the town’s boundaries is an almost insurmountable task,” he said.

One primary reason behind this challenge is the town’s unique geographical location. Opuwo sits on common lands with no proper fencing to keep the animals at bay. This lack of physical barriers makes it incredibly difficult to prevent livestock from wandering into the urban areas.

Rikambura expressed dissatisfaction with the financial burden placed on the council due to the maintenance and impoundment of these animals.

He indicated that in some instances, the council spends a staggering N$2,000 to remove a single animal, only to collect less than 200 dollars in detention fees from the owners.

The livestock issue is not the only challenge that Opuwo faces. The town is struggling with a variety of infrastructure and environmental problems including inadequate waste management and water supply issues.

The Opuwo Town Council has been actively working to address these challenges, with initiatives such as the upgrading and relocation of oxidation ponds and the establishment of a water treatment plant.

However, these efforts require substantial funding, which has proven to be a major hurdle.

The region has also been no stranger to severe drought conditions, leading to hardships for local farmers and the loss of livestock.

Such environmental challenges could contribute to the current livestock management issues within the town’s boundaries.

It is important to note that Opuwo is not alone in facing these challenges. Other towns in Namibia, such as Rundu, have also struggled with livestock roaming within their boundaries, often due to a lack of human resources.

This broader challenge highlights the difficulties faced by local governments in managing livestock within urban areas across the country.

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