On the spot: Oshikoto governor Kankoshi: The worst drought I’ve seen all my life
Oshikoto Regional Governor Henock Kankoshi converses with Mininstry of Information and Communication Technology’s Paulina Moses about how the region is handling the scary drought condition that is ravaging the entire country as a result of poor rains this year.
Paulina Moses (PM): Namibia as a whole has been affected by a persistent drought, but it is safe to say that some regions may be more affected than others. What is the general drought status for Oshikoto Region?
Henock Kankoshi (HK): It is for the first time in my life that I have witnessed drought this severe. This year Oshikoto Region is also one of the regions which are severely affected by drought. People worked very hard on their fields. The majority of Oshikoto people are mahangu producers. But unfortunately due to poor rainfall, people did not harvest anything. Apart from mahangu, because there is no grazing, most of our livestock are affected. This has been a big problem. There is no market for the livestock as the animals are very lean. We have no water. It is affecting our farmers severely. You may want to sell some of it but there is no market. Farmers came to me and asked where they are going to sell these lean animals. As a team we have to see how we can minimize the effects.
PM: President Hage Geingob declared drought as a state of emergency last week. How severe should a crisis be to be declared as a state of emergency by a country’s President?
HK: I would like to congratulate and thank His Excellency Hage Geingob, by declaring a state of emergency, he understands the plight of the people. He knows that the drought is really severe. It is now up to us as leaders in the region, constituencies, and the village headmen, to make sure that we put this emergency plan into action.
PM: You recently returned from Windhoek where you and all other governors attended a meeting with Prime Minister Saara Kuugogelwa-Amadhila about the drought situation. What did the meeting resolve?
HK: The Prime Minister, issued a directive consolidating what the president has said. The budget for drought relief is at half a billion. And the instruction was that, “nobody should lose his/her life because of drought.” She instructed all the regions for us to put this emergency into action immediately.
PM: Who qualifies for this aid and how does one make sure they are registered?
HK: Although we are all affected, there are those who are really in need. Those with no income. Apart from the needy community, farmers will be assisted with fodder and link to feed their animals. You should at least have 25 cattle and one bull to qualify. The councillors will communicate with the village headman and the registration will be done at their localities. We will use the usual system of drought relief distribution. We are urging the leadership at the constituency level to work hand in hand with the village headmen and committee members so that we register the needy people. We want the registration done by the 17th May 2019.
PM: How will the region ensure that this scheme is carried out effectively and that no wastage is recorded?
HK: We have put up monitoring measures. We will monitor the process of registering as a team. We will monitor the food from the moment it arrives at the warehouse. The government will also provide transport to carry food from the warehouse to the constituency centres. We have to make sure that when the food arrives today, it should reach the people at the villages. The food did not come to be stored in the warehouse, the food came to go to the people. We should make sure the food reaches the needy. Our councillors and officials from the constituency and regional council will be there.
PM: How can Good Samaritans in Oshikoto help?
HK: If there is anybody who wants to assist, they should approach our offices. They should approach and inform us, everything must be transparent. They should not find me out of the office and say, “take these three bags of maize”. They should come to the offices and have the donation recorded and should be done transparently.
PM: What is your final message to the people of Oshikoto Region?
HK: It is true that we are facing drought this year. But we are not yet pressing the panic button. Trust the government and work hand in hand with their elected leaders. Yes it is a reality that we have drought but do not panic.
2019-05-17 10:55:04 6 days ago