• June 3rd, 2020

Separating facts from political emotions

I am writing to react to the allegation made to members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration during its recent visit to Kavango West Region, regarding the abandoned plans to construct a district hospital for Nkurenkuru.

I recently read in New Era very disappointing and disturbing remarks made by the Chairperson of the Kavango West Regional Council Joseph Sivaku Sikongo, alleging that former President Pohamba was misled when he presided a groundbreaking ceremony for Nkurenkuru District Hospital in 2015. 
As you are aware, I was Minister of Health and Social Services at the time, who invited the President to do the honours, given the magnitude of the project. As a responsible leader, I cannot allow such a misleading political statement made by Sikongo - a person holding an honourable office - to go unchallenged. 
Please find herewith facts for the information of the residents of Kavango West and the said parliamentary committee at logo.

Kavango West Region was proclaimed a region during the Pohamba administration. As a result, it did not have a district hospital. I was entrusted by the President to look into this matter. 
Together with my team, we engaged the Ukwangali Traditional Authority under the leadership of late Hompa Sitentu Mpasi, jointly with the newly proclaimed Nkurenkuru Town Council management, to provide us land for construction of a district hospital. 

The land was provided and I reported progress to His Excellency President Pohamba. It was for this reason that as we planned our 2015/2016 medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) budget preparations, the Nkurenkuru district hospital became our major project, amounting to a sum of N$116,7 million on a three-year rolling budget.

For the 2015/16 financial year, we requested for N$30 million for this project - meant for earthworks, which include clearing land from unnecessary bushes/trees, water pipelines and fencing. 
Following completion of the above with loco-inspection, I gave a progress report to the President and extended an invitation for him to consider performing a groundbreaking ceremony at his own appropriate and convenient time. 

Eventually, a date and time was provided by the presidency. This was an honour to the people of Kavango West Region who truly deserved hospital. 

Just like any other ministerial annual budget, a process took place first at Ministry of Health and Social Services under the leadership of former permanent secretary Andrew Ndishishi. Once it was completed, he presented it at the steering committee of the ministry, under my chairmanship. 

We agreed on the major project as being the Nkurenkuru District Hospital to receive the largest share. I must also add that the only hospital which existed in Kavango West at the time was Nankudu, which was not suitable to be classified as a district hospital. 

I then presented the budget to the   Cabinet Committee on Treasury under the chairmanship of Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, now Prime Minister. It went through and was recommended for presentation to Cabinet, chaired by President Hifikepunye Pohamba. 

It was further approved for onward presentation to parliament. I had the real honour to present it UN parliament and was unanimously approved. 

It is important for the information of the affected citizens to know some information leading to the improvement of the health sector at large. Some may recall President Pohamba appointed a Commission of Enquiry on Health under the chairmanship of Judge Mutambanengwe.
The Presidential Commission on Enquiry on Health recommended improvement of infrastructure and human resources.

It also recommended that a roadmap be developed with specific timelines and costing of infrastructure development for specialised hospitals, district hospitals  (among them Nkurenkuru), health centres and clinics.

Indeed, this was an ongoing exercise, addressing most of the recommendations, leading to among others the establishment of Nkurenkuru District Hospital. It was never done without the approval of President Pohamba at any stage. He was engaged all the way to end of term of our mandate in March 2015. 
I can produce at any time the road map which we went through and was approved by both Cabinet and parliament of the Republic of Namibia. 

Thus, the statement made by chairperson Sikongo of Kavango West Regional Council during the visit of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics and Public Administration regarding the unfinished Nkurenkuru District Hospital was political, devoid of any truth, misguided, most unfortunate, misleading. Simply put , it hogwash. 

Finally, I would like to advice these type of politicians to read and do research before making such ugly statements and learn to acknowledge and appreciate efforts of other fellow colleagues, past and present, than shunning the good course.

* Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi was the Minister of Health and Social Services from March 2005 to 2015.

Staff Reporter
2019-06-07 10:16:05 | 11 months ago

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