10 August 2012

Namibia: Elcin in Outapi Land Dispute

Outapi — A tussle over a plot of land between four parties at Outapi, the capital of the Omusati Region seems destined for the court soon, as all efforts by the parties involved to resolve the matter have failed.

The plot under dispute was given by the Ombalantu Traditional Authority in 2007 to Karista Nambili Shililifa-Ekandjo, a teacher, but is now claimed by both the Outapi Town Council and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN).

The town council says the plot belongs to it because it falls within its boundaries, while the church says that it has been its property since the Onakayale ELCIN church was established there about 90 years ago.

Shililifa-Ekandjo told The Namibian, that after she identified the plot, she went to the Onamulunga village headman, Martin Akumanga, and requested for it and was given permission to occupy the land. She was advised by the headman to put up a structure and a fence to show the land belongs to her legally.

She paid the village headman N$300 before she fenced off the plot and put a small zinc structure in 2009.

Shililifa-Ekandjo said the land was registered under her name on June 28 2010.

In 2009, Pastor Jesaya Anguwo of the Onakayale ELCIN congregation started harassing Shililifa-Ekandjo to remove her fence and stop developing the land as it does not belong to her. The pastor also reported the matter to the Outapi Town Council.

But, Shililifa-Ekandjo would not let up and took the issue to the traditional authority who granted her permission to settle on the land.

The church then wrote a letter on June 14 2010, in which it called on the Outapi Town Council to order Shililifa-Ekandjo to stop fencing and developing the plot further.

The town council, assisted by the Police informed Shililifa-Ekandjo and headman Akumanga that the land belonged to the church and now to the town council, because all the land within the Outapi Town Council boundary belongs to the town.

Shililifa-Ekandjo's position since has been that she must be compensated by the town council for all the improvements she made on the land, if she has to move.

Outapi Chief Executive Officer, Oswin Namakalu, the Town Council and the Ombalantu Traditional Authority recently had a meeting with Shililifa-Ekandjo on the matter, but no solution could be found and the reason why it is headed to court.

"As we are talking now, this matter is no more in our hands, but in the hands of the court which will now deal with it and give a solution to the three parties," Namakalu said.

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