The Independent Candidate for Otavi constituency, Johannes John, has said he will advocate for the establishment of open markets in town to provide the community with a shelter where they can trade and generate an income.
“My plan for Otavi as its constituency councillor is to maximise its agricultural potential by establishing a truck port in Otavi to assist our farmers to distribute their fresh produce and meat products to various destinations around Namibia and abroad.
I will also seek to tap more into the abundance of water in the Kombat mine. If we can supply local farmers with water from this mine to irrigate their gardens throughout the years and not to solely depend on the rainwater,” said the youthful activist, who is also a teacher by profession.
“Open markets for our vendors remain a thorn in the flesh, as people only have Otavi Fourway Station to sell their products and it can only accommodate a small number of people; these are one of the key issues I want to pursue with vigour,” John said in an interview.
He also intends to push for the formalisation of the Neusommerau location, which he claims residents are still living in the forest and far from medical and other essential services.
“I was motivated to stand as an independent candidate – because as an activist, I want to take orders directly from my community as opposed to being embedded into a political party that does not serve the needs of the masses but their agenda,” he said.
John is standing under the Affirmative Reposition Movement (AR).
He added that many of the residents in Otavi and surrounding farms, including Neusommerau are still without national documents, which limits their chances of employment. He, thus, promises to address this issue within a year of assuming office.
As an activist, he prides himself as having made significant achievements for the community such as the resettling of over 2 500 homeless at Kap en Bou as well as lobbying for the provision of tap water.
John’s political journey dates back to 1998 under the Swapo umbrella as a pioneer. In 2014, he joined the AR movement out the frustration that the ruling party was losing relevance and no longer serving the interest of the masses. “With the assistance of AR, I started organising events aimed at opening the eyes of our residents of Otavi and to overcome the barriers of their fears. Through these platforms, I mobilised the residents to be fearless in restoring their dignity in term of access to land, access to water and sanitation, employment and other opportunities,” said John.
He, however, rose to political limelight in 2009 after returning to Otavi, which he found in a sorry state, he claims. That’s when he started advocating for change, though his efforts were met with resistance from Swapo leaders who never adhered and rather pushed for disciplinary action against him.
Through radical youth activism, John said they managed to successfully reject the awarding of large pieces of land to the Otavi council members, whom he said failed to follow the right procedure in acquiring the plots.
“The residents of Otavi, after seeing my potential, rhythm and energy in getting things done, asked me in very big numbers to take charge of the Otavi regional constituency office – and that is when I decided to run for office as an independent candidate,” he adds.