Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters parliamentarian Iipumbu Kalimbo says he is not impressed with the manner in which some ruling party MPs handled a recent motion seeking to address the plight of drought-hit farmers and households in the Kunene region.
The National Assembly last week adopted a motion by the Popular Democratic Movement MP Vipuakuje Muharukua, with House speaker Peter Katjavivi indicating a delegation would be dispatched to the region to familiarise themselves with the crippling drought situation, which has claimed thousands of livestock.
In a brief interview with New Era, Kalimbo claimed Swapo MPs attempted to politicise the matter despite the negative impact brought about by the drought situation in Kunene.
“This matter has affected the livelihood of the Namibians there on the ground - and here, politicians are making remarks that will make people think we are a joke in parliament. It is not good. We need to put our political affiliations aside when we debate issues that are affecting our people,” said Kalimbo, adding politicians should not gamble around with people’s lives.
“The comrades from the ruling party were trying to show off that they are better knowledgeable instead of tackling the issue at hand,” he said. Giving an update on the situation on the ground, Kunene governor Marius Sheya at the weekend indicated his office, together with the regional council, have constituted a task team on mitigating drought with key government offices, ministries and agencies, as well as other stakeholders such as farmers’ unions and traditional authorities.
He said the region was concerned about the challenge of school-going learners, who are migrating with their parents, saying they are looking at the best solution for learning to continue where they are.
The governor also said Cabinet resolved to introduce food assistance for affected residents, provide water and water services to needy communities and introduce a livestock programme, including a subsidy for the lease of grazing and transportation of livestock to and from grazing areas.
“These interventions will be reviewed regularly, but [they] are to cover Kunene, affected communities in some parts of Erongo and Omusati regions,” he said.
Sheya added an additional 1 200 bags of maize meal were received for the marginalised communities of Ohaiuha, Otjimuru, Otjikoyo and Otjanjazemo.
“Given the relocation of people to the outskirts of urban areas for shelter and food, access to clean drinking water is provided daily through the provision of 10 000 litre water tanks for both human and livestock consumption,” he stated.
However, he pointed out that the wellbeing of the people remains a concern and, therefore, mobile health teams have been activated, assessing the situation and attending to patients who require medical assistance.