24 January 2013

Namibia: Otjimbingwe Residents Want More Goats

Photo: Michael J.Ssali/DailyMonitor
File photo of Ms Teopista Nalubega tending her goats at her home.

Otjimbingwe — Discontented Otjimbingwe residents say they want more funds to be allocated to them from the Namibia-German Special Initiative Programme (NGSIP) so that more people can benefit from the scheme.

Only 50 people in the entire Otjimbingwe area, which is home to close to 12 000 inhabitants in the Karibib Constituency, benefited from the goats, with each household receiving only eight goats. Senior Headman of the Tsoaxudaman Traditional Authority, Salathiel !Kharuxab, has requested that efforts be made to benefit more people.

The German government has provided 11 million euros in funding under the special initiative programme in addition to the first tranche of 12 million euros used for smaller projects that do not require in-depth feasibility studies. "If there are enough funds more people must be added to the programme. People are concerned as to why only a handful of individuals benefited. They say they too need goats to farm," !Kharuxab said.

Communities in the Otjimbingwe area affected by the German colonial war of 1904-08 identified three projects under the NGSIP in 2009 namely borehole rehabilitation, livestock distribution and the establishment of a multi-purpose centre. Under the livestock distribution scheme, beneficiaries receive animals to breed for a period of one year and six months. Thereafter, the animals are returned to a local project management committee for redistribution to other needy members of the community.

However, the community complains that the current system of loaning goats from one household to another has not improved their lot. "The system of loaning goats won't work for us. Our request is more funds to be availed so more goats can be bought. The current system of loaning is not working, because people are quarrelling over the goats. We want the number to increase from eight to at least 10 per household," said senior headman, Joshua Seibeb.

Only two programmes have been implemented so far, which are livestock (goats) distribution and borehole rehabilitation. According to community leaders the National Planning Commission is still in the process of advertising the tender for the construction of the multi-purpose centre.

The other concern raised on Tuesday during the visit of German MP Heidemarie Weiczorck-Zeul, who was in the country on a three-day visit was the shortage of water for human and livestock consumption. Weiczorck-Zeul was particularly interested to find out how much progress there has been with the implementation of projects in the Otjimbingwe area.

The community said although six boreholes were drilled in different areas, only three are operational. "The water has dried out at Okarundu. There were additional boreholes that were supposed to be drilled, but the funds went to the goat project," !Kharuxab noted. At the beginning when the boreholes were all operational residents' lives changed, because they did not have to travel long distances to fetch water for their own consumption, as well as that of their livestock.

The lack of water has led to drought-like conditions leaving some of the donated goats dead. "Most goats died because there is not enough water. And many of the goats were delivered in a bad condition. They are of poor quality and the breed is not what we requested. We asked for Boer goats, estimated to cost N$1 200 each, but when Agra gave the tender out, the contractors bought normal goats of poor quality that cost between N$300 and N$400," he charged.

Weiczorck-Zeul said she wanted to see the progress and learn about the challenges faced by the communities regarding the programme in order for the German government to see how it could assist in expanding the NGSIP. Meanwhile, Gotlieb Kahikope, a Herero Traditional Authority chieftain said the initiative should not end with the distribution of goats, but should also be expanded to include cattle.

The German MP issued a stern warning to profiteers saying that no one should try to benefit from the programme that is meant for the affected communities. "No one should benefit by making profit in between. The process should be transparent and participatory," she said. She was also hopeful that the next phase, which is expected to kick off in 2014, when the first phase lapses, will look at education and energy renewal among other projects.

The Namibian-German Parliamentary Friendship Group (NGPFG) that met with Weiczorck-Zeul on Monday to strengthen ties between the two parliaments is expected to visit Berlin in March this year to address outstanding issues, including other issues of mutual interest between both countries.

Weiczorck-Zeul who was accompanied by the Chairperson of the NGPFG, Professor Peter Katjavivi during her visit to Otjimbingwe left the country yesterday following her three-day visit.

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