Residents of Omatelekelo village in Ogongo constituency who have been risking their lives each day for the lack of a proper footbridge on the Calueque-Oshakati-canal are contented after NamWater constructed a proper bridge for residents.
Residents have been crossing the canal using two logs after a businessman in Omusati removed a metallic structure that served as a make-shift bridge. According to the constituency councillor Willem Iiyambo, NamWater constructed the bridge across the canal last week and handed it over to residents on Wednesday.
Contacted for comment, the area manager of NamWater at Ruacana Thomas Shiikwa confirmed the construction saying they responded to appeals from the councillor and headman requesting them to construct the bridge for residents.
He, however, said he cannot divulge more information on the matter because he is not the spokesperson of NamWater and he referred New Era to the water utility. However, sources who witnessed the handing over of the new bridge said residents including school pupils and the elderly who have been making use of two logs, that are perilously positioned to cross the canal were very excited and thanked NamWater for its prompt response to potentially save human lives.
Iiyambo said the matter was in the process because they had a meeting with NamWater and the residents recently discussed the bridge.
“It was in that meeting the residents decided to contribute money per household to meet the entity halfway. Despite the contribution, NamWater decided to construct it with zero cost of the residents,” the councillor further explained. He said the money that was contributed by residents would now be used for a new bridge that will enable vehicles to drive across the canal.
Last month, New Era reported that businessman Gideon Nambala removed the local footbridge from the area in 2018 and installed it closer to his home. Over 168 households at that village were affected by the situation.
The metallic structure was designed for villagers to cross the canal as well as for purposes of pumping water for their livestock.
The businessman last month admitted having removed the footbridge, claiming it was stationed far from the community, hence he brought it closer to the people.
“That metallic bridge was far from the people and was not being used by many. I removed it, modified it and brought it closer. I did this for the benefit of our people,” he explained. He in turn questioned why people are only going on about the matter now when he had shifted the bridge two years back. “I was approached by the traditional authority headmen to explain why I did it and I told them I did it for the good of the people. They have understood clearly,” he said.
Nambala, who is also a poultry and horticulture farmer, said those who are against his business successes have blown the matter out of proportion.