4 NEWS Thursday, December 14 2017 | NEW ERA Okalongo moving towards village status Heeding www.nipam.na a call… Land issues at Okalongo have largely been resolved and the settlement could soon get village status. The Governing Council, Executive Director and Staff wishes a Merry Christmas to you, our valued clients and partners. We are sending you and your family heartfelt wishes for peace, joy and abundance this Holiday Season. Thank you for your trust and belief in us. We look forward in working even harder to serving you in the coming year. Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2018 Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva Okalongo could soon be selfsustainable and subsequently be declared a village following the Omusati Regional Council’s involvement to resolve land disputes at the settlement. The chairperson of the Omusati Regional Council, Modestus Amutse, said all land disputes, which partially contributed to the slow growth of the settlement, have been resolved. Moving forward, residents who had previously withheld development of their properties, as a result of the disputes, have been cleared to develop and thus contribute to the coffers of the settlement by means of service payments. “We are on the right track and are optimistic that Okalongo could soon have a village council. But we also do not just want to declare it a village council, because of the sake of the people or for the sake of status, but it should be driven by sustainability,” said Amutse. According to Amutse, the only thing now withholding the settlement from being declared village council status is the question of sustainability. “Is it able to sustain itself currently or should we allow it to grow further in order to sustain its operations? But whatever we have done, is assisting Okalongo to sustain itself because people are now able to develop their areas,” said Amutse. Amutse was optimistic that the freedom to increase the number of service recipients and increase the settlement’s revenue collection. He said council is also in the process of realigning minor issues such as looking into prospects of relocating or redesigning the dumping site so that it conforms to environmental standards. In addition, the council is also busy installing other services such as water. He said tenders in that regard had already been advertised. Apart from Okalongo – Onesi and Ogongo settlements are also awaiting to be accorded village council status. But the chairperson maintains that Okalongo is next in line. Okalongo was declared a settlement almost 20 years ago.
Thursday, December 14 2017 | NEW ERA Namibia condemns killing of Tanzanian peacekeepers in Congo 5 WINDHOEK Namibia has condemned last week’s killing of Tanzanian peacekeepers working under the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by militant extremists. At least 15 Tanzanian peacekeepers were reportedly killed and 40 others injured in the DRC when the militants attacked a United Nations base in the North Kivu Region on Thursday evening. A statement issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation condemned the attack, calling it an “act of atrocity” committed against peacekeepers. “The Government of Namibia wishes to extend its sympathy and fraternal solidarity to the government and the sisterly people of the United Republic of Tanzania over this act of dastardly violence perpetrated against those whose mission is to help the government of the DRC restore peace and security to that country and its long-suffering people,” it said. The government further called on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to provide all the necessary assistance and support to the Congolese national army to pursue and bring to justice those responsible for the “barbaric act of unprovoked aggression” against the peacekeepers. The attack is regarded as the deadliest assault on the organisation’s peacekeeping forces in nearly a quarter century. United Nations peacekeeping a militant group known as the Allied Democratic Forces, which has its origins in neighbouring Uganda, that is accused of killing hundreds of people over the past three years. – Nampa International Relations Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah Aussenkehr farmers starving amid plenty Matheus Hamutenya Aussenkehr While farming in Aussenkehr was aimed at empowering Namibian people to venture into the grape industry, many smallscale farmers in the area have incurred debts instead. Government in 2001 trained farmers, who were then given plots so that they could produce grapes and other fresh produce to sell, but while the gesture was well meant, the farmers have few success stories to tell. Instead, they share stories of how deeply they are in debt, with some indicating that they owe close to N million. And due to some drawbacks some farmers’ lease agreements have also been terminated, leaving many with no source of income, and this pushed some farmers to beg for drought relief food this year in order to feed their families, saying they do not have the means to support their families anymore. “We have nothing left to eat; we received bags of rice from the We went to see him again but he showed us an empty store room, there is nothing left anymore,” said one of the farmers at the time. But managing director of Agribusdev Petrus Uugwanga assured New Era that the situation of the small-scale farmers had improved since the agency took over in 2015, saying there have been reforms undertaken to put the farmers in a better position He told New Era that most of the problems the farmers were facing were a result of past mistakes and that Agribusdev has put in place certain measures to ensure professionalism in running their businesses. “We are happy with the measures put in place, especially to control the expenditure. We said control the cost but do not comprise on the quality of the produce, and we are happy as we expect to triple the output this year,” he said. He further urged farmers to run their affairs like that of any other business and to take their work serious, and have business ethics in order to succeed, saying farmers must inculcate business values, and move away from anything that is not consistent with business ethics. The director, who recently that in the past most farmers were of certain impediments, such as the recruiting of casual workers exceeding the needed number, which meant more was spent on salaries than needed to be. New Era understands that some farmers put ghost workers on their payroll, so that they could receive the money themselves, which also escalated production costs. the number of people employed were not in proportion to the work done, so we have taken over all these critical areas, and we are going to reform the funding method to farmers,” he said. Mixed fortunes… Grape workers package grapes for export. Photo: Matheus Hamutenya