4 NEWS Thursday, July 20 2017 | NEW ERA Ohangwena sets up new agricultural project Nuusita Ashipala Eenhana In its quest to fight poverty, unemployment and create food security, Ohangwena Region will establish an agricultural project at Embwanyana in Oshikunde constituency. About N0,000 has been secured through the Governor’s Community Development Programme, while an additional N0,000 was sourced from Namsov and Seaflower fishing companies for the establishment the project. During his regional address last Thursday, Ohangwena Governor Usko Nghaamwa said work on the project has commenced with the drilling of a solar-powered borehole and the clearing and fencing off of 42 hectares of land. “I am grateful to mention that all these rural development interventions are geared towards creating job opportunities for our unemployed youth in the region,” said Nghaamwa. The project is expected to benefit a minority group, known as ‘Ovamashaka’ in Ohangwena Region. Expectant mothers scorn shelter at Engela Nuusita Ashipala Ongwediva A handful of expectant mothers at Engela have defiantly refused to move into the Tuyakula Shelter, saying the new shelter is no better than camping outside. They claim the only difference from those in the shelter is that they have a roof but they say this is outweighed by the fact they also collect wood and cook in the open. “What’s the difference, they also came with their own blankets and collect wood. The only difference is that they have electricity to light at night,” said Lavinia Henombela. In addition, those inside are required to clean the facility inside and out, including the bathrooms. Both the women at the centre and those camping under the tree adjacent to the shelter are charged N per week. Those inside assume the N is for their stay at the shelter, while those from under the tree are charged for water usage. One of the women accommodated at the shelter said apart from the roof there is no safety at the shelter. “The rooms are not lockable. There is a padlock at the front door, but we fear Oshikunde Constituency Councillor Lonia Kaishunga welcomed the development in her constituency. She said the project would be divided amongst the ‘Ovamashaka’ families, to benefit about 50 people. Acting chief regional officer Phillip Shikongo said the project’s affairs will be handled by a committee from the office of the governor to ensure it is sustainable. Last week New Era reported on the Onehanga project, which amidst allegations of mismanagement of funds, died a natural death after being productive for only five months. In light of this, Shilongo said Embwanyana would be run differently to ensure it continues to benefit the intended community. The governor also reported on the completion of the Oshini Marura project at Ondobe and Xemenia project at Onakalunga. The two projects aimed at adding value to indigenous products by producing oil, would generate income for the local community and create job opportunities. The region has also financed a number of projects through the micro-finance and other rural development programmes worth over N million. locking it because then we would need to be asking ‘who has the key?’ when one of us goes into labour,” related a woman who preferred to remain anonymous. They complained that the gate closer to the hospital has been locked, forcing them to use a longer route to get to the hospital. “Just last week a lady delivered on the way to the hospital. We need this small gate opened. And sometimes when we escort those in labour we are usually chased by unknown men,” related one of the women. Albertina Namhindo from Ongenga, one of those camping under a tree, said she does not have the required amount to pay for the shelter. “I have been here for three weeks already. Where am I supposed to get all that money from” she asked. The Tuyakula shelter was constructed with the support of former first lady Penexupifo Pohamba for expectant mothers, who camp outside Engela District Hospital. Although the centre has been operational for a while, it was renovated and re-opened for use by expectant mothers, however, some still do not see the need of the shelter. During the state of the region’s address, Ohangwena Governor Usko Nghaamwa delightedly announced that the renovation of the shelter early this year has restored the dignity of the expectant mothers. In the current financial year, the shelter is expected to be fenced off, while the laundry and kitchen area is also expected to be renovated. Plans are also in the pipeline for a matron house to be constructed near Engela District Hospital. Obrein Simasiku Omboto Grade 2 learners at Omboto Junior Primary have gone for close to three months without a teacher, a situation that has forced the school’s only remaining teacher, Christofina Ndazapo, to absorb the learners into her Grade 1 class. Ndazapo said she took the learners into her class, because she could not bear sending them back at home, or to let them loiter around without doing anything when they come to school. The Grade 2 teacher, who was also the acting principal, left in April after his contract came to an end, leaving the learners without classes. The school only goes up to Grade 2, although plans are underway to extend the curriculum to Grade 3 next year and Grade 4 in 2019. New Era visited the school last week where it established that learners could barely respond when greeted in English, and that there was a 15-year-old boy in Grade 1. Omboto is situated about 120 km from Oshikoto in the remote area of Nehale Lya Mpingana Constituency, which it is almost impossible to access due to the nature of the terrain. When asked what will happen to the learners during exams and what the likelihood was of them being promoted, Ndazapo said, “I do not know, but our circuit inspector is Going green… Ohangwena Governor Usko Nghaamwa at the new Embwanyana agriculture project. Photo: Contributed Teacher worries over Grade 2 learners at Omboto aware of the situation” and gave assurance about providing teachers for the school. “I have them in my class and I always teach them what I teach the Grade 1s. I am unable to send them outside, while others are learning. I fear the worst for them, since the year is almost ending and my wish is to get a replacement teacher.” Ndazapo is on a one-year contract and holds a Namcol certificate in childhood development studies. She said despite the challenges of poor roads, no network connection and lack of electricity she is satisfied teaching in a remote rural area. Onkumbula schools circuit inspector Helmut Angula said the situation was not bad and the only solution was to do multiteaching. “Multi-teaching is not something new. She can always do that, give the learners different tasks relevant to them, while they are combined in one class. But we are working on the situation of getting a new teacher/acting principal and we are waiting for approval from the highest office,” he explained. He reiterated that the teacher-learner ratio for junior primary was 1:35, but at Omboto they are only 28 pupils, hence she can combine the classes for the time being. With regard to the extension of the curriculum next year, Angula said the newly constructed classrooms are yet to be handed over by the contractor once completed. Only then will they look for a teacher.
Thursday, July 20 2017 | NEW ERA NEWS 5 Kavango regions advised to register for customary land rights Michael Liswaniso Rundu Marvin Sisamu, the deputy director for land in the Ministry of Land Reform, has advised Kavango East and Kavango West to reconsider their current position and register for customary land rights as enshrined in the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002. He said at the current pace the world is moving it is good to have a formal document clearly stating under which jurisdiction and traditional authority the communal land falls, as well as to whom it rightfully belongs. “By tradition people may know that, yes, this piece of land is mine or it belonged to my forefathers and thus I can settle there but it’s now good to have it formalized and registered. Some can even use these certificates as collateral when applying for bank loans in order for them to engage in other developmental projects,” he said. Sisamu was speaking in Rundu at a two-day land reform regional consultation workshop earlier this week. The workshop was one of a series of similar workshops being conducted around the country in all 14 regions, aimed at reviewing the progress made in the implementation of resolutions taken at the first ever land conference in 1991. The workshops are also aimed at looking at new emerging land related issues being experienced and sensitize as well as prepare inputs for the envisaged 2 nd national land conference slated for September. Currently only residents of the two Kavango regions have refused to register for their customary land rights with the Ministry of Land Reform on grounds it is against their customs and traditional way of life to register traditional land. “Why should I register if there is no value to the land issue, what’s the value of registering communal land?” asked one resident who identified himself as Kudumo. He added that customary and communal land registration may prevent people of the two regions from moving and farming freely as they have been doing for the past years. On his part Kavango East Governor Samuel Mbambo, who officially opened the conference and actively participated throughout the two-day event, acknowledged that there are problems currently in the two regions with regard to customary land registration. He was however quick to point out that the position of the region and that of his counterpart in the west will be communicated in what he termed a “regional document” that has to be finalized before the planned 2nd national land conference commences. “All the things may not be exhausted here at the meeting but we will still hand in a regional document to the committee to be presented at the national conference. Land is a political, social and economic issue. It’s also about promoting equity and poverty eradication, therefore, after years of trying to implement the resolutions of the 1991 conference, people need to go back to the drawing board,” he said. Though this is the case, reports from the Ministry of Land Reform indicate the ministry has managed to acquire over 3.1 million hectares of farmland involving 513 farms worth over N.7 billion via the willing seller, willing buyer system. This has culminated in 5,306 beneficiaries being successfully resettled since independence. Namibia ratifies ban on import of toxic waste Albertina Nakale Windhoek Namibia has joined the rest of the world in the fight against toxic pollution after it ratified the Basel Convection to ban developed countries from dumping hazardous waste in developing countries, whether in solid, liquid or gas form. Before the amendment to the Convention, it did not prohibit developed countries from shipping hazardous waste to developing countries for dumping purposes. Seeking parliamentary approval to ratify the Basel Convention in the National Assembly on Tuesday, Environment and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta said the Ban Amendment was introduced to correct this situation. He said Namibia ratified the original text of the Basel Convention in 1995 and what is required now is only to ratify the new provision (Article 4 a), which was not part of the original text of the Convention. The object of the Basel Convention is to regulate the trans-boundary movement of hazardous or toxic waste from country to country. Article 95 (l) of Namibia’s Constitution prohibits the importation of toxic waste into Namibia. For this reason, the environment minister said, Namibia’s ratification of the Ban Amendment was consistent with the Constitution. Albertina Nakale Windhoek The police docket for the investigation into the recent killing of lions by northern business mogul David ‘Kambwa’ Sheehama has been submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor General for a decision. The Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, said the investigation, which was launched last month to determine whether the killing of two lions was legal and the firearms used were licensed, has been finalized. He said the docket has since been forwarded to the PG’s office that will decide whether to prosecute or not. Shifeta did not divulge much details of the concluded report from the investigation team, except to say most farmers exaggerated the number of livestock killed by lions. Sheehama last month sparked shockwaves when he, accompanied by other farmers, allegedly killed two lions at his farm. The lions were part of a pride that had been terrorising Omusati farmers since the beginning of May, according to farmers. Recently six lions from the Etosha National Park were alleged to have attacked and killed livestock in the bordering Omusati Region. The lions reportedly killed about 10 cattle in Omusati. Shifeta clarified that all lions killed illegally are being investigated. This year alone, he revealed, about 10 lions were killed illegally by community members in various parts of Namibia. He noted that in Omusati six lions were unlawfully gunned down by community members, while two were destroyed by officials of the environment ministry after being declared as problematic animals. In 2014, the Environment Ministry requested advice from the Office of the Attorney General whether to proceed with the ratification of the Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention. Former attorney general Dr Albert Kawana recommended then that from a legal point of view, ratification of the Convention holds no prejudice to the government and is not contrary to the Constitution or any laws of the country. “We, therefore, advise that the Government of Namibia may proceed with the ratification process of the said amendment,” Kawana wrote in response. Shifeta said it was, therefore, not necessary to consult broadly on an issue, as it is in line with the stipulations of the Constitution. However, he said the attorney general had been consulted and that his comments and modifications were incorporated into a document submitted to Cabinet. He explained that following parliamentary approval, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah would deposit the instruments of ratification at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Shifeta also sought parliamentary approval for the ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which aims to protect the environment and human health from mercury pollution. Mercury is globally About three were killed through poisoning in Kunene and one was illegally shot dead by community members in Oshana. In Oshikoto Region, three lions were also destroyed by officials of the ministry after being declared problem animals. No lions have been killed in the Zambezi, Kavango East and Otjozondjupa regions so far this year in connection with human-wildlife conflict. Shifeta said that Namibia’s lion population stands at 700 with 430 of these big cats found in Etosha and surrounding commercial famers. considered to be a major cause of brain damage, especially in children. The name of the Convention “Manamata” is derived from Minamata Bay in Japan, which came as a result of scientific studies on the cause of strange mental health disease among fishermen and their families who consumed mercury-polluted fish from the bay. These studies showed that the source of contamination was a mercury-processing factory, which had continuously released mercury waste into Minamata Bay. Shifeta clarified that the Minamata Convention does not prohibit the use of mercury, but provides for controlled production and release. He said this was one of the reasons so many countries have signed the Convention. To date, 128 countries have signed it, while 47 have ratified it. Among the SADC countries that signed are Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Seychelles, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Seychelles have also ratified the Convention. Concerning consultation, Shifeta said the attorney general and other players, including the Ministry of Health and Social Services, as well as Mines and Energy and the Dental Council of Namibia, were consulted and “no objections were received”. PG to decide on Kambwa’s fate for killing lions Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta Another 120 are found in Kunene Region and parts of Erongo Region, 50 lions are in the Khaudum National Park and surrounding areas of the Kavango East and Otjozondjupa regions. About 50 lions are found in Zambezi Region and the rest are found on some other commercial farms. So far, Shifeta said, no human life has been lost due to a lion attack, although two persons were attacked and sustained serious injuries – one in Sesfontein area and the other in Kunene Region. Shifeta explained that the carrying capacity of Etosha National Park is about 350 lions – meaning the park is overcarrying 80 big cats. “Other areas are open systems as the areas are not fenced off and the numbers of lions depend on the available prey. Lions escape from Etosha National Park now and then. They are attracted by livestock that graze along Etosha due to farmers establishing cattle posts or grazing livestock close to the park.” According to him, the 822-km fence is dilapidated and the government needs to raise half a billion to rehabilitate it to mitigate human-wildlife conflict. “We need at least N0 million to fix the entire fence. We tried to make it reasonable. We need N million to N million per kilometre because some areas are mountainous and rocky. It’s costly.” He said that over the past six years only 112 kilometres of the fence had been upgraded and 710 kilometres remain. Some of the measures the ministry has put in place to mitigate further conflicts include herding and guarding whereby farmers use a person and dogs to walk with the livestock while they graze. Another one is the predator-proof kraal to prevent night-time attacks of livestock by predators through strong enclosures.