ENVIRONMENT and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta has said any committee managing a conservancy without the mandate of the community is illegitimate and can therefore be prosecuted.
Shifeta said this whilst addressing members of the Iipumbu yaTshilongo Community Conservancy at Engombe in the Oshana region’s Uuvudhiya constituency on the operations of community conservancies on Friday.
Some 82 community conservancies, Shifeta said, are registered and gazetted in Namibia. The government has equipped most of those conservancies with the wildlife for the communities to generate income from, create job opportunities and fight poverty.
Shifeta, however, expressed concern that many committees are accused of corruptly selecting members of conservancy leaderships, with the purpose of benefiting just certain individuals at the expenses of the entire conservancy community.
“Community conservancy committees should be inclusive of all stakeholders, including representatives of the local traditional authorities and [should] be transparent in all their dealings to the benefit of all members,” Shifeta explained.
The minister said he wants to see members of the committees regularly being elected by the entire membership of the conservancy at annual general meetings (AGMs).
Shifeta emphasised that without the community mandate, all the decisions taken by any community conservancy committee will be null and void and can be challenged in the court of law.
Oshana regional councillor for the Uuvudhiya constituency, Amutenya Ndahafa, in turn described the Iipumbu yaTshilongo Community Conservancy committee as an honest body, which is working in the interest of each of its members.
The serving committee of this conservancy was elected in 2015 for a three-year term of office, and the new committee is due to be elected on 18 June 2018.