Namibia: Councillors Accused of Cheap Politics

8 November 2019

Walvis Bay — Some residents of Kuisebmond on Wednesday accused the Walvis Bay Town Council of using their homelessness as a ploy to gain votes in the Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for later this month

Hundreds of residents turned up for the meeting organised by the council to update them on the progress made so far witih Farm 37, but were not impressed that the council had waited to brief them just weeks before the election.

The deputy mayor, Penelope Martin, councillors Romeo Goseb and Tobias Nambala as well as chief executive officer Muronga Haingura addressed the meeting in Kuisebmond.

Farm 37 was identified in 2016 by the Walvis Bay Town Council and Erongo Regional Council as a solution to relocate more than 30 000 residents of whom 17 000 are backyard squatters. So far approval has been granted for smaller plots of 200 square metres to be made available.

But speakers who took to the podium expressed their disappointment with the councillors whom they accused of mixing politics with service delivery.

"How can you use Farm 37 to prey on the vulnerability of desperate homeless people? Why wait until it is election time?" queried one resident.

Another resident said that Farm 37 has been on the cards since 2016 after the town experienced land grabbing, but now they are still living in shacks.

"We will not vote for you unless you give us, or move us to, Farm 37 before the election. Is it because you need us to vote that you are here? We will not vote as we are still in shacks paying high rent with a lack of sanitation facilities," another of the residents said at the meeting.

Haingura however told residents the meeting was not held to push a political agenda but to update them on Farm 37.

"There is no political agenda; we are here to discuss how far we have come with Farm 37 and we are certainly not mixing politics with service delivery," Haingura retorted.

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