• February 25th, 2020

Councillors among informal squatters 

OMUTHIYA -Two local authority councillors of Omuthiya Town Council are among thousands of residents that are squatting at Kaniita informal settlement, a situation that invalidates claims that councillors have been awarding plots to themselves.
Kaniita harbours all kinds of people from the unemployed to teachers, police officers and other formally employed individuals. There are community taps in the area, but it also has no electricity, no proper ablution facilities although it has a handful pit latrines.

 The majority however prefers to use the bush when nature calls. 
Of the seven local authority councillors, only one ordinary council member has a residential plot in town, while some have business plots and the rest are still hoping to be allocated in future. New Era, understands that Mayor Katrina Uusiku and management committee member Enos Shipahu were recently allocated business plots at the town’s industrial area, while deputy mayor Heskiel Nanyeni already owns a business plot in the CBD. 

New Era caught up with one of the councillors Susan Uukongo, who has lived at Kaniita for over 10 years as she narrates her journey of living in an informal settlement as well as the plight to get a residential plot. “This place is calm despite all the challenges we have, I like it here. I am even closer to the masses we serve, and I have got to understand and know how it feels to be in an impoverished area over the years I have lived here. I sympathise and share similar aspiration of a decent shelter and have a place to call home,” said Uukongo.

Uukongo also serves as Swapo branch coordinator for James Mbundu. 
She became a local authority councillor in 2016, and says she applied for a plot long before she became a council member, but remains hopeful that one day she will get a plot.

“We are just like any other resident irrespective of whether you are a councillor or not, I also applied for a plot and still waiting until when the time comes. Therefore, people should forget this notion created that we [council] are dishing out plots to relatives and friends, we all need land but there is nothing. Once serviced land is available, everyone on the list will definitely get, thus there is no favouritism or whatsoever,” she stated, while seated outside her zinc shack not far from where she cooks. 

“Council is working around the clock to provide land, lets relax and be patient. We have teachers and police officers here, they too need land. There is also another local authority councillor that stays here,” reiterated Uukongo, saying that given an opportunity of a plot, she would still choose Kaniita.

She further said, council is looking at servicing land at Omadhiya where people at Kaniita can be relocated, prior to the availability of funds.  

 “I am not different from anybody, thus I cannot force council to allocate a plot to me, when I know we do not have enough serviced land. In fact, I will not be a councillor forever, am part of the community and one day I shall be an ordinary citizen too like before. Let’s exercise patience,” concluded Uukongo, who emphasised her unwavering, will to live in an informal area irrespective of her status. 

Obrien Simasiku
2019-03-14 09:38:38 | 11 months ago

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