Chief Max Haraseb of the /Gai-o-Daman Traditional Authority in the Kunene Region, and Sesfontein Constituency Councillor Hendrik Gaobaeb, had to hastily stop a planned distribution of goats under the German Special Initiative due to concerns over how beneficiaries were selected.
The goats were to be distributed to selected beneficiaries starting today. However, unhappy members of the community expressed concern over the selection of beneficiaries, claiming that only the names of people belonging to well-off families were on the list, while the names of the poor and vulnerable were omitted from the list.
The Special Initiative is meant for development projects in areas and for communities that have "historic ties" with the German colonial government. The present German government considers Namibia a special moral and political responsibility and bases its aid to the country on those grounds.
In 2005, the the German government proposed a Special Initiative for which it undertook to commit a total of 20 million EUR or N$160 million to be disbursed over a period of three to five years to affected communities. An amount of N$2.2 million was earmarked for the Grootberg area.
Initially, a multipurpose centre was planned for the settlement of Anker or a community hall, but it was eventually decided to rather use the money to buy goats to be distributed to poor people in the area. The committee chosen by the community to facilitate the distribution, however, allegedly removed the names of vulnerable people which were submitted by the community and put the names of their relatives and other well-off people who already have a lot of livestock, on the list.
"This annoyed us very much! Giving goats to people, some of them owning over hundreds of cattle, while there are people with nothing not even a chicken? We just felt it was not fair and we had to contact the media," a very unhappy resident of the village of ErweÃ« told New Era.
According to the criteria, people who own more than 50 goats and who are older than 65 do not qualify for the goats.
In addition, a prospective beneficiary should have a piece of land and should have resided in the area for at least three years and should also own a stock card or blue book.
The /Gai-o-Daman chief Haraseb initially said "it's natural that people would complain if they did not get the goats now," but promised to come back with a more suitable answer to New Era's questions.
However, Haraseb changed his tune when approached for the second time, saying that the distribution of goats that was supposed to take place today would be postponed and instead a meeting with all stakeholders such as the conservancies and other community organisations would be held soon.
"The list that annoyed the community will now be nullified and a new list will be created, identifying the real needy people. We admit that wrong choices were made," Haraseb added. According to the chief, the community does not want the current committee members anymore.
"Now after talking to the people at the National Planning Commission, the councillor and I have taken over and will have the meeting tomorrow (today) to rectify the situation," Haraseb said.
There are about 2 900 registered people above 18 years of age residing in the Grootberg area, making up about 189 households. At least 60 households out of the 189 households have been earmarked to receive the first consignment of goats.
The first beneficiaries are supposed to give back a similar number of goats that they have received after three years, which is supposed to benefit the next group of beneficiaries.