The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs commenced on Tuesday 15th March with its fact finding mission regarding complaints from the Hambukushu Traditional Authority about benefits for its people from the Bwabwata National Park.
The mission follows a petition handed to the National Assembly on the 19th of November 2021 by the Hambukushu Traditional Authority.
The document titled “Petition on the Management of the Bwabwata Communal Land by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism” calls on the Parliament to revisit the Cabinet decision of 1999 that prohibits the rearing of domestic animals in the Bwabwata National Park or any other game park in the North East of Namibia.
In the petition they maintain that the Proclamation of the Bwabwata National Park of 2007 is illegal and therefore must be revisited. Other arguments they raise are the allocation of land to the Hambukushu Traditional Authority in the national park.
The Hambukushu Traditional Authority further submit that there were no proper consultations with the affected community.
They further demanded during the consultations with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs that the land in Bwabwata be returned to them in order for them to do their farming.
They want further deliberations be held with the affected parties to reach an amicable solution to what they call the protracted land dispute that caused serious conflicts between the Hambukushu community and the current occupants of the Bwabwata the Kyaramacan Association.
The Kyaramacan is an association that strives to maximize the livelihood of the historically marginalized people living in the park, of which the majority are the Khwe San, !Xun San and the Hambukushu. In a separate deliberation with the standing committee, the executives members of the kyaramacan association stressed that the Hambukushu Traditional Authority should respect the government policy that prohibits cattle from roaming the national park.
The grouping stated that they are open to deliberations for as long as the process is done procedurally and not through petitions
Both Hambukshu and Kyaramacan’s are claiming ownership of the land.
The standing committee will be engaging the two parties in separate deliberations according to the Parliament’s public relations officer, David Nahogandja.
The standing committee paid a courtesy visit to Fumu of Hambukushu Traditional Authority Erwin Munika Mbambo, office of the Governor of Kavango East as well as the councilor of the Mukwe Constituency Damian Maghambayi and discussed the standing committee’s visit in the area prior to the community consultations.
The standing committee is led by its chairperson Kietu Karondo, who outlined that the committee has the duty to receive and consider petitions lodged by the general public, traditional authorities, civil society organizations, organized interests groups and stakeholders.