New Era (Namibia)
Residents of Kasika located some 120 km east of Zambezi Region in Kabbe South have launched a complaint with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) regarding the purported mismanagement of the affairs of Kasika Conservancy and poaching.
In a letter addressed to the Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta, seen by New Era, community members
claim the conservancy is being managed by people who are responsible for all the “dirty activities happening in the community, namely poaching, fraud and not adhering to the warnings from the Masubia Traditional authority.”
The letter further states that community members have reported cases of poaching to the environment ministry, but not to avail. Ironically, they allege that the mastermind behind the poaching syndicate in the conservancy is the husband to the chairperson of the conservancy.
“Her husband was caught with the elephant tusk in Zambia, where he escaped and even now he is still wanted by the Zambian authorities. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism was informed about these issues but nothing has been done,” read the letter.
They further claim the entire household of the chairwoman is involved in poaching activities. “Her cattle herder was found with buffalo meat and was arrested by the police… the community wonders why known poachers are not arrested as they are known by the ministry,” the disgruntled community members further stated.
According to the concerned community members, they lodged their complaints with the Bukalo Khuta, where it was resolved that the chairperson should vacate her position, as she “does not qualify to be the chairlady, because she failed in her duty to prevent poaching activities which were happening right in front of her eyes in her courtyard,” reads the letter.
The letter further states that this ruling was not accepted by a fraction of the community members led by some officials from MET. It is for this reason that the community members have decided to approach the office of the minister.
As reported in New Era in April last year, the chairwoman who has signatory powers to the account of the conservancy was said to be involved in the disappearance of N$300 000. That case is still before court.
The community further called on the Minister Shifeta to intervene and “order an investigation at the Kasika conservancy with regard to poaching”.
Contacted for comment a director in the MET, Colgar Sikopo, confirmed having received the letter.
“Yes we received the letter. We received it yesterday (Monday). We still have to study their complaints, so that we see what actions we can take. We have to discuss it with the management of the ministry, namely the minister and the permanent secretary and thereafter we will get back to the community and see how we can assist them,” he said.