EENHANA - Residents of Ohangwena Region, from different spheres of sectors, were yesterday united in their conviction that the region is in dire need of roads for ease of movement.
They put up a united front in this regard during a town hall meeting with President Hage Geingob at Eenhana yesterday.
On his 8th meeting in a series of 14 scheduled countrywide, Geingob listened to a representative from Ohangwena Farmers Association, Martin Nghitombo, who requested that government build more roads to enable farmers to transport their livestock to better grazing areas within the region, especially during acute drought seasons such as the current one.
The current sandy roads make such aspirations a pipe dream, he said.
Teachers in the region also spoke of the need for more roads, saying those teaching in rural areas are particularly affected.
Speaking at the occasion, Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) representative George Hafilwa said currently some schools in the region are inaccessible due to lack of proper roads.
“We teachers have difficulties to get to and from schools in rural areas, thus our vehicles are in danger. We are thus appealing to the government to accelerate gravel roads to deep rural schools for better access and improved service delivery,” he submitted.
A representative of the Oukwanyama Traditional Authority also urged for improved roads in the region.
Responding to residents concerns, Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa acknowledged a need for proper road infrastructures.
“The issue of bad road infrastructures especially in war zone areas is real. We have quite a number of plans in place, but I cannot say everything will be done at once. The government is committed to fulfill its plan,” said Mutorwa.
The teachers further requested the government to construct more houses for them.
Another burning issue that remains a challenge in the region is water scarcity, residents said. The representative of Christian leadership in the region, Reverend Linea Haufiku said water scarcity has put the lives of both human and livestock at risk, hence urging government to construct a canal from Cunene River.
The Oukwanyama Traditional Authority proposed that government drills more boreholes urgently to ensure there is sufficient water for both human and livestock.
In response, Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister Alpheus !Naluseb said government has distributed N$3 million to all 14 regions to ease access to water.
He revealed that the ministry has budgeted for excavation of two earth dams per region in Oshana, Oshikoto, Omusati and Ohangwena regions and tenders to this effect have been advertised.
Speaking at the occasion, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said, drought stricken areas in the region have received 660 bales of grass, with 1140 bales more to be delivered. She added that the number of those in need of relief has increased to 38 116 inhabitants of Ohangwena Region.
President Hage Geingob urged the gathering to hold hands and build Namibia. He said after the previous town hall meeting that was held in October 2015 in Eenhana, he felt it was correct to come back to the region and give an accountability report on what the government has done so far regarding the residents’ requests.
Other issues raised were lack of hostels in the region, adoption of universal health coverage, upgrading of Eenhana Vocational Training Centre, abuse of government properties and infrastructures, and monitoring and evaluation of capital projects in the region.