THE headman of the Oshikuyu-2 village in the Omusati Region, Jason Nghiholiwe, has resigned his position following recent protests by villagers who accused him of having irregularly allocated to a private citizen a piece of land that is part of a communal grazing area that is consistently getting smaller and smaller.
The land in question (about two hectares) was allocated to a certain Hafeni Raimund, son of a local businessman well-known as “Shetweni”.
Villagers accused Nghiholiwe and his deputy, Neshelo Nuuyoma, of taking unilateral decisions and of implementing such decisions without informing or consulting the community.
Speaking to Informanté Monday morning, Nghiholiwe said that he submitted his resignation on Saturday when Moses Haiyambula – the head of the Onelombo ward that includes Oshikuyu-2 village – visited the disputed piece of land and met members of the community.
“Oshikuyu-2 is a difficult village indeed. I have been the village headman for the past 15 years, but I can no longer continue. A small group of villagers is holding an entire community hostage, coercing people to refuse to cooperate with me,” he said, noting further that whenever he convokes a community meeting no one turns up. Also, no one wants to be elected or be appointed as a village secretary or to serve in the village committee.
“The issue here is not really the allocation of that piece of land. The issue is that descendants of my predecessor, late Ashipala Alugodhi, want to have as headman someone who is biologically related to them. The allocation of land is being used as a mere pretext,” he said.
Nghiholiwe’s statement was echoed by an Oshikuyu-2 village resident who is currently working in Orangemund and who prefers to remain anonymous: “Our village is kept hostage by people who do not want development. It is now nicknamed ‘the village of idiots’ simply because it is lagging behind in terms of development. People are extremely envious and are quick to resist anyone who brings development to the village,” she said.
She said that Raimund, who was allocated the disputed piece of land, promised to bring electricity to the village that would benefit a lot of people. “His father, Shetweni, is a well-known philanthropist who years ago dug a well in the village for the benefit of all residents,” she said.
Meanwhile, the dispute over that piece of land is now in the hands of headman Haiyambula who inspected the site and listened to the villagers’ grievances on Saturday.