By Hoandi !Gaeb Mariental Hundreds of Hardap Region’s inhabitants took to the streets at Mariental yesterday to demand the immediate removal of the Chief Regional Officer James Sankwasa, as the accounting officer of the region. The demonstrators came from as far as Aranos and Maltahohe to express their dissatisfaction over the way Sankwasa is running the affairs of the region. “Down with Sankwasa”; “Keep your hands off the Governor”; “Enough is enough, we need employment”; “Stop the corrupt practices”; “Let our voices be heard in the entire Namibia”; “We want to build the Hardap Region”, read some of the slogans on the placards. The demonstrators also complained that people from outside the Hardap Region get jobs, while the local residents are suffering. “We need a chief executive officer who knows the region and understands the needs of its people,” they say. The petition, which was handed over to Governor Katrina Hanse, inter alia states that only prudent administration of council matters will bring development to the region. “A chief regional officer should be respectful and proud to serve the people of the Hardap Region. We also fought for the independence of this country, but we are still suffering after 16 years of independence. “James Sankwasa is on a self-enrichment mission to the Hardap Region and is deliberately assassinating the image and character of the governor. He must concentrate on his job,” the angry crowd alleged. The petition further states that Sankwasa is never available in his office when the people need him to discuss their problems. “He is always out of office. The time has come that we are served by a competent official.” The petition called for Sankwasa to be redeployed to the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development or suspended with immediate effect for alleged corrupt practices. Earlier New Era reported that the Hardap regional Council has inter alia ordered a verification process to ascertain the validity of claims made for travel and accommodation by all its officials, including those of Sankwasa and the financial director Charles Tjijenda. This step has been necessitated by growing concern among some council members over alleged abuse of travel and accommodation allowances by some senior officials. A document compiled by dissatisfied officials of the council, a copy of which is in New Era’s possession, contains serious allegations of contraventions of government regulations with regard to claims by some senior officials. Receiving the petition yesterday, Governor Hanse said she would personally ensure that the document reaches the right people at whatever level. “Rest assured that I will do my best to deliver your complaints to the authorities, who will deal with your problems appropriately,” she concluded.
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