23 Nov 2010 - Story by Toivo Ndjebela
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ONAWA ' The headman of Onawa village near Oshakati, Job Sheehama, is angered by the manner in which the newly formed Oshakati Community-Based Organisation (OCBO) had tricked him and his subjects into signing up as members ahead of this week's elections.
OCBO was stopped in its tracks in its bid to contest the Oshakati local authority election, when it failed to beat the deadline set by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and would therefore not contest in this weekend's showpiece.
Sheehama says he was requested, under false pretences, to avail his house as a venue for registering those interested in joining OCBO, which he was made to understand to be an association delegated by government to register people for some upcoming festivities.
Little did the ageing headman know that the forces behind OCBO's formation were actually asking for his hand in an unholy marriage in which he would be asked to lure his subjects to the new association that eyes seats on the Oshakati Town Council.
'They tricked me, I am an old man and did not really understand the whole thing,' Sheehama told a Swapo mini-meeting held in his village on Sunday and addressed by the party's regional coordinator for Oshana, Erastus Uutoni.
Sheehama's revelation sparked similar reactions from a string of villagers, most of them semi-literate, who accused OCBO of employing unorthodox means to lure voters to its stable.
Scores of people signed up by OCBO have since approached the Oshakati High Court to demand the removal of their names from OCBO's books.
Their problem, they say, is not the existence of a new rival to their party of choice Swapo, but the way in which the leaders of the new association tried to undermine their intelligence by trying to trick them into joining OCBO.
It was after such outburst by the community that Uutoni lashed out at OCBO and its masterminds, who are well known activists in Oshakati and surrounding areas.
Uutoni, who until March this year was the mayor of Ongwediva, said the leaders of OCBO, Antonius Amugongo and Simon Negumbo, have been a thorn in the flesh of development in and around Oshakati. Negumbo recently denied that he is part of OCBO.
'They were against the construction of the school at Ehenye. Ehenye could have up to 2Â 000 new houses by now but they objected to the idea,' Uutoni alleged.
'Their aim has been to frustrate efforts of the Swapo government. Now we can see they did all this knowing they would come up with a party of their own,' Uutoni said.
Uutoni, who is also the Deputy Minister of Safety and Security, said the ruling party's structures in the region are working to determine if Amugongo and Negumbo are indeed Swapo members and if so, necessary disciplinary measures would be meted out against the pair.