18 February 2013

Namibia: Okalongo to Become a Settlement

Okalongo — ONANDJABA village in the Okalongo Constituency of the Omusati Region will soon be developed into a settlement.

The announcement was welcomed by the residents of the village who at the beginning of this month demonstrated and demanded that the promise of their village be transformed into a settlement be fast-tracked.

The community on February 2 marched 35 km from Okalongo to Outapi, where they handed a petition to the office of the Omusati governor, Sophia Shaningwa.

The petition said a decision to develop Onandjaba into a settlement was taken years ago, but nothing has been done despite numerous meeting between the Okalongo community and the Omusati Regional Council.

The community questioned what they called the "mysterious" disappearance of the initial map of the settlement agreed upon between the community and the regional council. They accused the officials of the regional council of now mapping the area without the knowledge of the community and their leaders.

They also complained about officials removing the residents from their plot under the pretext of clearing the area for development.

In some instances, they claimed, some villagers have been given plots without the settlement's borders being finalised.

The chairman of the Omusati Regional Council, Tataati Shileka, told the Okalongo community on Wednesday that the council had a meeting on January 31 and resolved that the development plan of the Onandjaba/Okalongo settlement will be implemented in June this year.

According to Shileka the old map of the settlement was not approved by the council and the Ministry of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development because some landmark institutions, such as the new Roman Catholic Mission at Onandjaba, were not included.

Shileka promised that no villager would be removed or new plots allocated before the whole development plan was finalised.

He also promised that all development partners, including the community and their leaders, would be consulted to give input in the mapping of the area.

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