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Letter - Demarcating Eiseb Block from Otjombinde

2023-01-27  Staff Reporter

Letter - Demarcating Eiseb Block from Otjombinde

Tsepo K. Mutenge

Eiseb Block is the remotest part of the Otjombinde constituency, home to a majority of Namibians repatriated from Botswana in the early 1990s. 

The original inhabitants are from the San community, and are inclusive of other Namibian citizens originally from neighbouring villages such as Otjinene, Epukiro and Otjombinde. 

Eiseb Block has always enjoyed a special status from the State and other goodwill-minded non-state actors due to the historical background of the majority of its inhabitants, particularly the San community and those repatriated from Botswana. 

As you may well appreciate, the San community is a marginalised group which qualifies and deserves special consideration when it comes to socio-economic and developmental processes. Consequently, those repatriated from Botswana to Namibia in terms of the historical and patriotic bilateral agreement of (1992) negotiated by then president Sam Nujoma and Johny Ketumile Masire arrived with very few assets. The integration of this community into mainstream society is still an ongoing exercise, which requires special attention. The community’s development agenda and socio-economic uplifting lacks dismally behind, and therefore needs special consideration and own representation. In addition to the fact that it is scattered or sparsely populated, inhabitants are mainly livestock herders, hunters and gatherers. Being under the jurisdiction of the Otjombinde constituency’s administration has posed several unfavourably negative challenges to Eiseb Block and its inhabitants. 

The inhabitants of the Otjombinde constituency within the diocese of Tallismanus have been living in Namibia pre and post-Namibian independence, thus, have integrated and adapted incomparably to the living dynamics and challenges, as are the inhabitants within the diocese of Eiseb Block. 

T h e i n f r a s t r u c t u r a l development paving ways to a better adoptive means may reduce challenges posed by both the psychological and socio-economic spheres, and may differ in approaches, resolutions and implementation. 

The developmental agenda, business goals and education agenda require unique, need-to-be-assessed and tailor-made approaches that speak to the unique complexion and identity of the San community and the repatriated majority of inhabitants of the Eiseb Block community. 

The Otjombinde constituency has quite some growth points, including Eiseb Post 10, in which the current economic hub for the constituency is Tallismanus, which in principle has to cater to all the constituency’s inhabitants some who are 500km away, close to the Eiseb/Otjinene border gate. This distance poses unfavourable challenges to both the Eiseb Block people and the constituency counsellor, who has to drive all the way to link these two dioceses. Tallimanus is about 300km away from Eiseb Pos 10, which is currently a growth point within the Eiseb Block village. 

This distance leaves the people of Eiseb Block with no option but to have a relationship with Tallismanus in whatever way possible, from buying goods to inter-constituency trading, sovereign relationships, etc. Eiseb Block village has thus isolated itself from the Otjombinde constituency forcefully due to this distance. 

Eiseb Block has one primary school which caters for learners from grades one to seven, and a community-administered hostel. 

The school is under the Ongombe education circuit, along with schools such as Omuhaturua, Okovimburu and Morukutu, all in the Epukiro constituency (This may be a misplacement). 

Most activities that have to do with the school administration at the executive level are linked to the Omaheke regional office in Gobabis, and not so much is done at the constituency level. 

The only link that the school has with the administration in Tallismanus or at the constituency level is to do with support services, such as from the ministry of works, if there is any maintenance that has to be done. 

The school hostel is still under community administration, whilst others within the constituency are all under government administration. 

Thus, the inhabitants feel that the Swapo-led government has to consider the demarcation of Eiseb from the Otjombinde constituency, and consider Eiseb as an independent constituency with its own administration, like any other constituency. 

*Tsepo Katjingurukee Mutenge is a law practitioner and a resident of Eiseb Block. He writes in his capacity as a community activist. 

He can be reached at tseponguke@ 

2023-01-27  Staff Reporter

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