OMUTHIYA - The dust refuses to settle between the Omuthiya Town Council and its residents over land compensation, with the community lamenting the fact they have not yet been fully compensated for the land they ceded to council to make way for development.
The community last Friday stormed council premises to demand answers on when they will be allocated plots and what was causing the hold up, saying they have lost patience as they are tired of waiting in perpetuity.
They were however informed that their grievances could not be attended to because they have been referred to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development who is looking at the issue. This is not the first that the community has approached council to demand answers over the issue that has become protracted as council seems to drag its feet.
The town council on the other hand insists the issue has been addressed and those bringing up the matter are part of the group that did not qualify for plots.
“The policy states that the person has an option to choose either to get two plots but no money, while the second option offers one to be paid in full which is in monetary for the value of the homestead. The only persons without an option are those that are in industrial or business area and are paid money in full. In this case most of those bring up the issue are the ones who received money and they are under the impression that they do qualify for the plots again, which is not the case,” explained the CEO of the Omuthiya Town Council, Samuel Mbango.
In addition, Mbango said those that qualify have been informed and that their names are already on the approved list by council and from the minister. Furthermore, he said some opted not to come collect their letters from council, while some never returned them after they signed the documents so that their details could be captured.
“From our side we have settled the issues of compensation. The problematic ones are those that did not qualify, and I think there is someone who is instigating them through their committees. The fact they see others receiving plots does not mean they also qualify,” countered Mbango.
“My call is for the qualifying residents to come and expedite the process then we will transfer the land in their name. Thus, I am calling upon all those with issues to come forth and if they are on the list they will be registered, but if not appearing it means they have not qualified. They are the ones that chose the options in the first place when they signed after valuations,” he added.
However, Moses Amukoto, a community activist who spoke on behalf of the group argued that this has not been happening and only a few have so far received plots while the majority of residents are still waiting.
The compensation saga that has dragged on for years, dates back from 2006 and 2008 when Omuthiya was proclaimed a town and to be the regional capital for Oshikoto Region.
“We are equally disappointed in our Swapo-led government that has not been taking action – such lazy elected leaders who tend to underperform and offer the opposite to the people. Even when these leaders do wrong nothing happens – it is time they are reprimanded or even recalled,” thundered Amukoto.