Mukwe Communities oppose removal of their livestock out of Bwabwata National Park

Mukwe Communities oppose removal of their livestock out of Bwabwata National Park
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Communities in the Mukwe Constituency of the Kavago East Region are at loggerheads with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism over the removal of their livestock out of the Bwabwata National Park.
Hundreds of Hambukushu people gathered at Mukwe to reject the Ministry's order to move their livestock from the park land.
The watershed meeting also decided to drag Government to court to reverse a decision of proclaiming Bwabwata as a national park.
Chief's Council chairperson, Erwin Disho is of the view that the proclamation of Bwabata as national park in 2007 is against the Communal Land Reform Act.
"We do not know how the park started. We were not consulted. All we heard was that it has been proclaimed. But proclaimed how, without the consent of the traditional authority? We want to know who gave them that consent. Our Mfumu did not approve it. Then who did? We want to know that person," said Erwin Disho, Chairperson of the Hambukushu Traditional Authority Chief's Council.
Kyaramacan Association runs a conservancy in the park to benefit the San Community there but the Hambukushu are not party to that arrangement.
The Hambukushu and San communities both claim indigenous rights to the wildlife-rich lands of the former Caprivi Strip.
"We, the Hambukushu, are not getting any benefits from these parks, including Mahango National Park and Bwabwata, which they have now taken. All we hear is that Kyaramacan is the one benefiting.
The park also overlaps into the Zambezi Region and is an important wildlife corridor of the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area.
Residents expected the ministry's regional officials to attend their meeting, but they did not turn up.
Calls to Regional Director Apollinaris Kanyinga's mobile phone, to verify the community' information, went unanswered.
Kanyinga did also not respond to text messages sent to his cellphone.