15 January 2013

Namibia: Councillor Fumes Over Shunning of San

Divundu — The Councillor of the Mukwe Constituency Christian Muriki along with the 4 000 San people in his constituency are piqued over the job selection process at the new Divundu Vision School.

No single San-speaking individual has managed to get employment at the school. The bitterness led to a group of San people leaving the first official proceedings at the school in protest last week, immediately after learning that all positions have been filled and none from their ranks had been considered for employment at the much-coveted school.

An irate Muriki vowed to New Era that he is going to lay an official complaint and demand an explanation from the Minister of Education, Dr Abraham Iyambo on the matter.

"The government is fighting to raise the standard of living of these people, yet some government institutions continue to suppress them. I am really not happy because our own people did not even manage to get jobs as cleaners," said Muriki. The Divundu Vision School is situated in Mukwe Constituency.

The Under-Secretary for Formal Education in the Ministry of Education Charles Kabajani, when approached for comment, said the recruitment process at the school was "different and stringent", even for menial jobs, because of the nature of the school. "If you look closely you will notice that it is the first time we held interviews for a post such as that of a cleaner. We did this because we want people with potential. This is not an employment venture," he said, adding that people working at the school should be able to contribute to the bigger picture of assisting the learning process at the school.

Members of the community became more agitated by Kabajani's comments that 'a school of this magnitude is not for employment creation', saying they have given up their mahangu fields to accommodate the new school. Muriki says the failure to recruit the San at the school contradicts the statement made by President Hifikepunye Pohamba in December last year, when he hosted a Christmas party for San people at Chetto, 180km west of Katima Mulilo. On that occasion the president pledged government's commitment towards the social upliftment of the San people, saying: "I am the president today because I worked very hard. I want to see in my lifetime a person from this community becoming a minister or president. If a president can come from one tribe, why not from the San?"

The councillor further said the issue is likely to threaten the ruling party's dominance in the constituency in the coming general election. "It is not right for us only to run to the people during elections and forget them after that, we need to cater for our people even well after elections. If you go back to the previous elections you will see that the party's support base amongst the San community is steady and reliable," said Muriki.

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