Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Development concerns for Opuwo

OPUWO, 08 DECEMBER 2016 - A group of people at the Epupa informal market preparing cattle skins to cook and eat as they can't afford food. They also don't have money to buy wood and are using carboard boxes at the dumping site to cook with. (Photo by: Uerikoha Tjijombo) NAMPA

OPUWO, 08 DECEMBER 2016 – A group of people at the Epupa informal market preparing cattle skins to cook and eat as they can’t afford food. They also don’t have money to buy wood and are using carboard boxes at the dumping site to cook with. (Photo by: Uerikoha Tjijombo) NAMPA

Opuwo councillor, Weich Mupya, is concerned over the number of capital projects that have been sanctioned in his constituency but could not be executed due to lack of funds.

Mupya told this paper that there are several projects that died “natural deaths”, as funds intended for them were diverted to other regions.
When asked this week to shed light on the development projects that were frozen due to funds that were diverted to other regions, he said: “It includes the Opuwo Aerodrome, Opuwo Sport Facility and a multipurpose youth centre.”
“Most projects that are intended for Kunene (Opuwo constituency) are cut halfway, it is rather unfortunate that we find ourselves in such a situation,” lamented Mupya.
He further went on to say that when decisions were taken regarding the discontinuation of the projects, the community and regional leadership were “never” consulted for their inputs.
“It is saddening that the Ministry of Works and Transport decides to discontinue these projects and it is unfortunate that it only happens to us.”
“The money is given to other regions that are perceived as more important than ours and it has been the case for so many years,” alleged Mupya.
The projects were set to commence before the current economic meltdown that has seen the Namibian government put a stop to major capital projects countrywide and the lack of progress “cannot” be attributed to the fiscal situation that the country is going through, according to Mupya.
In addition, the Opuwo Aerodrome was to be constructed at Ejara – a village situated about 40 kilometres East of Opuwo – however, construction work is yet to commence four years.
There is a strong sentiment that among inhabitants of the Opuwo constituency that money was deliberately diverted to other regions.
Going forward, Opuwo is without a decent sporting facility due as Newman Katuta stadium was sold to property developer Erastus “Chicco” Shapumba for a meagre N$2.4million in a dubious deal back in 2014.
Opuwo Town Council was highly criticised by the town’s residents over the sale of Katuta stadium at various levels.
The councillor further complained that it was only a matter of time before the residents of Opuwo wake up to the reality that the town does not have a sporting facility – something that would instil sporting culture in the town.
“If the developer (Shapumba) comes and starts the project for which he bought the stadium, our people will be left with nothing,” he lamented.
Mupya could however not indicate to which “regions” the money intended for projects in his constituency was being diverted.
Water situation
According to Mupya, there is a “dire” need to upgrade the existing underground water resources in order to cater for human consumption, livestock and irrigation to maintain food security in the constituency.
“We are already in the second month of the year and there is no sign of rain, therefore, we are likely to have another year of drought.”
“We find ourselves in a very critical situation of water shortage due to insufficient rainfall and with just a few months to go before the rain season ends, the situation doesn’t look promising,” lamented Mupya.
According to Mupya the provision of clean accessible water is a key factor in development, while adding that the current economic times will require a collective approach to ensure maximum “output” in terms of food security.
“Despite having received insufficient rainfall, those who live in areas with wells and other underground water resources are urged to get involved in crop farming activities,” noted Mupya.
When asked about places that have been earmarked for possible upgrade in underground water for farming activities, Mupya said: “We have about three places namely Okorosave, Okapembambu and Otjindjerese, which has a well that can only cater for animal consumption so the need for water is a critical one,” he noted.
Okorosave and Okapembambu are located about 30 kilometres and 45 kilometres to the south-east of Kunene region’s capital Opuwo, respectively.
Meanwhile, Otjindjerese is situated about 25 kilometres east of Opuwo.
Construction sector
A variety of construction projects such as roads, schools and government offices are planned for the Opuwo constituency and Mupya is calling people in his constituency to acquaint themselves with the skills needed by the construction sector.
Opuwo residents have often accused the regional leadership of preferring contractors from other regions to do jobs instead of local ones, but the leadership has always argued that the locals lack the needed financial and human resource capacity.
The major construction projects currently underway in the region include, the upgrading of the Sesfontein-Opuwo and the Opuwo-Okangwati roads. The two roads will be upgraded to bitumen standard.
“The time for our people to get involved in the construction industry is now because various developmental projects are coming to the region,” said Mupya.
Last month, The Patriot spoke to Julius Kaujova, a councillor from the Sesfontein constituency, which is also in the Kunene region.
Kaujova was optimistic that the financial challenges that the government is facing will not stand in the way of the upgrading of roads in Kunene.
At the time, Kaujova said a tender to design the C43 road (Sesfontein-Opuwo) was awarded already and will be completed around April this year

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