28 January 2013

Namibia: Drought Relief Food Sale Investigated

AN investigation will be launched this week in the Kunene Region into allegations that drought relief food has been sold and that food distribution is being done along party lines.

The undertaking was made after a food aid recipient, Jocaniah Haraeb (33), last Thursday caused a major drama at the Khorixas constituency offices. He objected to having been taken off the beneficiaries list.

Sebastian !Gobs, Khorixas Constituency councillor, confirmed that he had heard about the allegations and that an investigation would be launched this week.

Members of other political parties claim that only those sympathetic towards the United Democratic Front of !Gobs are getting food aid, or enjoy priority when the food is distributed.

When Haraeb realised he was no longer on the list, he went to the constituency office to inquire but he could not get a satisfactory answer. Haraeb was declared disabled in 2009 and has since received a disability grant and is eligible to get food aid, along with pregnant women, needy children and old people in the drought-stricken area.

Haraeb told The Namibian that a relative of his, Gisella Haraes, a pregnant woman, was also told in December that she would no longer receive food aid.

Haraeb said the situation forced him to buy maize meal intended for food relief. In one instance he paid N$30 for a 12,5-kilogram bag and another time N$40.

According to Haraeb the illegal sale of drought relief food is a reality in the Khorixas constituency.

A local businessman also told The Namibian that he had been offered drought relief maize meal but refused.

The Khorixas Constituency, together with Sesfontein and Opuwo, were declared drought stricken last year and the government allocated N$32 million for relief aid.

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