EENHANA – Former Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila has challenged a call by the deputy minister for marginalised communities Royal /Ui/o/oo to establish a ministry of indigenous affairs, saying there is no need for such a ministry.
In an interview with New Era this week, /Ui/o/oo said he proposed the formation of a separate ministry which deals with matters around marginalised people, a subject that to date is looked after by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.
The deputy minister believes the development of the marginalised San people in the country is moving at a snail’s pace because the current ministry under which it falls is “overcrowded.”
He said it is for that reason that the state of the marginalised remains deplorable.
He is, therefore, proposing a ministry that would provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework that enhances the capacity of these communities.
“I came up with that idea of the ministry of indigenous affairs so that we only deal with issues relating to these people. The budget allocated to the ministry of gender equality is limited and cannot adequately cater to all the divisions under that ministry. I want us to have a specific budget, mainly just for our community,” he
Now, I am operating as a deputy minister of the marginalised people and doing some work related to gender equality, which I think sometimes takes up much of the time, instead of mainly just focusing on marginalised communities.”
Asked when he wants this idea to materialise, /Ui/o/oo said “as soon as possible.”
“I want this to be done soon. Because, why does it have to take a long? We can discuss it with Cabinet for up to six months, and then a decision can be taken to create the ministry,” he added.
Having also considered the challenges that might hinder
the implementation of this ministry, /Ui/o/oo said he wants his idea to come to life before his retirement.
Asked if he had already ignited discussions around the matter,
he said he had written and submitted a letter to Cabinet in 2013. However, he has received no response up to now.
“I need assistance from the president, vice president and also ministers to see this division as a division that needs special attention,” he stressed.
However, former cabinet minister Amathila, who has for many years been at the helm of the development of San communities, objected to /Ui/o/oo’s proposal.
“No need for a new ministry; he just wants to become minister,” she said in a telephonic interview with New Era.
The outspoken leader said “people should not do things because they want to become ministers themselves. He is already a deputy minister for the marginalised, so he must just do his work.”
During her term as deputy prime minister, Amathila advocated strongly for and established programmes for the marginalised to be empowered.
She, however, expressed disappointment with the current leadership of the marginalised communities, saying little is being done to holistically better the lives of these people.
“They are not doing enough for those people,” said the disappointed Amathila.
“He is just doing work for the San people in Tsumkwe. It is always Tsumkwe, Tsumkwe. But when I requested him to look into the plight of San people in Kaoko, Kunene region, he never attended to it. If he does his work, there would be changes, and there will be no need for a ministry.”
When approached for comment, minister of gender equality Doreen Sioka’s phone rang unanswered.