Residents of Omaheke Region last week Thursday flocked to the Ben Van Der Walt Primary School hall in Gobabis to engage with President Hage Geingob on issues affecting them and their communities. The President is on a series of such meetings, with each region to interact with him. Journalist Kuzeeko Tjitemisa captured some of the interactions as follows:
Kilus Munyuku III Nguvauva
“Your Excellency, Comrade President of the Republic of Namibia, Dr Hage Geingob, the headquarters of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority was among the first ones [scheduled] to be constructed together with the one of the Ondonga Traditional Authority.
These were offices for the Chairperson of the Council of Traditional Leaders and Deputy Chairperson, but until this day, the construction of the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority headquarters was suspended indefinitely. Could your respected office please make a follow-up in this respect?
Soon after you took over the presidency, the Ovambanderu Traditional Authority sought an appointment for a courtesy visit to your office and made several follow-up requests in this regard, but we are continuously denied that opportunity. May I know why?”
Maharero Royal House Chief Tjinaani Maharero
“Your Excellency Comrade President, given the severity of the ongoing drought, there is a need to explore a wide variety of options through which fodder can be introduced into the local market at affordable prices to the local farmers.
This is necessary to cushion farmers against the imminent reduction in the supply of fodder in the country and the concomitant spike in fodder prices. This situation will only get worse than before, until rain comes.
For this reason, it is proposed that a ‘Bush to Feed Core Team’ is mobilised and exposed to the necessary training intervention in order to sustainably and correctly harvest forage and convert this into feed pellets.”
Civil Society Organisation spokesperson Moses Mberira
“Good Morning Comrade. Thanks for the opportunity. We thank the President for the declaration of drought as an emergency. Hence, we have decided to support the President and his government to find ways and means that will mitigate the serve drought situation in Omaheke Region.
Our research has found that in Omaheke, we have a lot of bush encroachment that is hampering the growth of grass for grazing of livestock.
Therefore, if people in communal land can be allowed to do de-bushing with the purpose of making fodder for food that can be consumed by the animals, it will drastically help towards drought elimination.
The challenges that people are facing are the laws prohibiting them to establish committees, groups that could allow them to embark on de-bushing for fodder.”
≠Kao //Aesa Traditional Authority Chief Frederick Langman
“Thanks for the opportunity. Firstly I want to extend my greetings to President Hage Geingob for gracing this occasion.
To avoid wasting time, let me start with the most important points. Before independence most of the San people were farm workers but after independence most of them have been fired from farms.
And, as you might know, most of the San people are uneducated; most of them have been wandering around the country not knowing where to sleep or where to stay. My question is, is there any provision made for us who don’t have education to be recruited somewhere so that we can earn our salaries so that we can feed our families.
Also, one thing that is a burden to us is the name called marginalise, please stop referring to us as marginalised. The word marginalise makes us feel like we are only reliant on food parcels or drought relief. If we can be given a place of our own, we can develop that place and contribute to the economy.”
Bakgalagadi Ba Namibia Kgosi Hubert Ditshabue
“My sincere appreciation goes to the Head of State and his delegation. I don’t have much to say. I have two humble requests to make to our President, firstly my deepest appreciation of the drought relief food that has reach Aminuis Constituency.
Aminuis has only received maize meal without any proteins or whatsoever. This maize meal without anything can push people to end up stealing or dying from hunger. I want to correct something, there is a miscommunication that this is the second year of drought in Aminuis but the fact is this is the fourth year.
My second point is, Aminuis has a number of different ethnic groups and this has congested the area, therefore, I humbly request your good office to look at expanding Aminuis by buying bordering farms so that people of Aminius can resettle on the farms.”
Namibia Farm Workers Union (Nafwu) General Secretary, Rocco Nguvauva
“Let me start by greeting His Excellency President Hage Gottfried Geingob. Farmworkers are faced with many challenges that include income inequalities, eviction and assaults, which are some of the concerns that I want to address here today.
Even though there is a national minimum wage for farmworkers, this is still not enough. Therefore all relevant authorities are urged to look at adjusting farmworkers’ union minimum wage.
With me today, I have farmworker Apiud Hauta who was beaten by the Namibian police at the airport just because he was accused of stealing livestock of his employer. Mr Hauta has lost sight of one of his eyes, this is the situation faced by many farmworkers across the country.”