Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Chief warns Govt against food discrimination

The government should not make any distinctions when it comes to distributing drought relief food. It should also not provide relief only during election years.

Rukambe Uazukuani, chief of Okamatapati in the Okakarara constituency within the Otjozondjupa regional, said this after reacting to media reports that food was becoming more expensive for half of the population.

Afrobarometer recently found that more Namibians were living in poverty in 2021.

The survey revealed that 64% of respondents went without food in the last year.

Other reports place the figure at around 1,5 million Namibians.

Uazukuani stated that the government’s drought relief deliveries to his area of around 3000 people have been inconsistent. When it finally arrives, it is given to San families. However, the area is home to many tribes, the Ovaherero being the dominant.

“We have starving families from other tribes who depend on a pensioners’ grant for survival because of unemployment, and such people need government help.

“Looking at the figure of 1,5 million people shows that it’s not only the San who need food, but about half of Namibians,” he said, adding these are red flags the government should not ignore.

“The government should not wait for an election year to help needy people. It should be a continuous government obligation to feed the hungry,” he said.

Uazukuani claimed that the area’s situation has been made worse by the lack of rainfall that was needed to sustain rain-fed agricultural projects. Also, their crops suffered from wilting mid-season, which led to no harvests.

“Our only source of water is NamWater, and this cannot be used for backyard gardens because the water is expensive. Already many people in the community owe NamWater large sums of money,” he said.

He stated that the Okamatapati community’s mainstay is their livestock, when prices are high. However, the current prices are so low that farmers are reluctant selling.

Uazukuani expressed his gratitude to Palm for Life for distributing N$500 vouchers to community members.

“However, this comes once in about three months and is only for the San in line with the government model,” he said.

According to the chief, traditional leaders do not have enough money to help their communities.

“Even those chiefs who are on a government salary of N$2 000 cannot help their people with that,” said the chief, who is employed in the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs’ human resources department.

He reached out to local councillors for a solution. They too stated that they did not have the budget to fund projects and were waiting to see if the government would release funds.

He said he has also approached a conservancy in the area with the hope it would at least kill an elephant or kudu to feed the people – even if only for a day – but the conservancy said it did not have any animals to slaughter.

He stated that the conservancy had promised to approach Waterberg (the main game park in the region) for assistance.

The chief stated that the community was facing drought in addition to limited rainfall.

Uazukuani asked the government for tractors to help prepare their fields.

He stated that if he could change anything, he would reduce the operating hours of bars to curb alcohol abuse and create programmes for boys to make them equal with girls.

He stated that as part of Ovaherero Traditional Authority’s Chief’s Council, they have initiated countrywide projects. The first was a poultry project at Opuwo. Later, they will expand to other areas.

Uazukuani indicated that the OTA would soon begin its five-pillar programme for governance and institutional capacity. This includes traditional authority, well-being, education, resilience, economic advancement, genocide, restorative justice, stakeholder relations, and engagement.

Source: namibian

By Chala Dandessa

I am Lecturer, Researcher and Freelancer. I am the founder and Editor at ETHIOPIANS TODAY website. If you have any comment use caalaadd2@gmail.com as email contact. Additionally you can contact us through the contact page of www.ethiopianstoday.com.

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