Namibia: Geingob Shoots Down Kunene Division Calls

Photo: New Era
President Hage Geingob.

President Hage Geingob on Wednesday warned that suggestions to divide the Kunene region into two will not be in the interest of a united Namibia.

Geingob said during a townhall meeting at Khorixas that he stands to be convinced on why splitting the region, which has people sharing similar cultures, is necessary. He was reacting to suggestions from some community leaders at the event, who moved the idea of having the region divided into two. The traditional leaders, however, did not give details of their proposal.

"Even when we are at the delimitation commission, you must make a case. Provide arguments and reasons why it must be done," Geingob stated. The president said he had asked the same question to proponents of splitting the former Kavango region into two, but did not get a solid reply on the matter.

"They thought dividing the region will lead to development; they would have a governor and development will come. But they failed," Geingob added. The former Kavango region has now been divided into Kavango East and Kavango West.

Gaob Petrus Ukongo of the #Aodaman Traditional Authority, one of those who made the call for the splitting of the region during his presentation, said the move was not tribally motivated.

He said reasons for his proposal are contained in documents handed to officials at the meeting as part of his presentation, as the time limit for oral presentations would not allow him to fully divulge such details. Another traditional leader, headman Abraham Hendricks of the Swartbooi Traditional Authority, supported the call.

Gaob Justus //Garoëb said dividing the region could bring about better economic opportunities for the inhabitants.

"Opuwo is far. It is about 740 km for a return trip from Khorixas. As such, due to extreme poverty in this area, the majority of the people do not enjoy most centralised regional government services and project spin-offs, as well as the implementation of some Harambee Prosperity Plan programmes," he stressed.

According to //Garoëb, social progression is also slow, with all offices and created job opportunities concentrated only in the northern parts of the Kunene region. The Kunene region is the second-largest region in the country, covering an area of about 115 260 km2.

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