By Michael Liswaniso OPUWO Deputy Prime Minister Dr Libertina Amathila met town councillors, traditional leaders and the entire residents of Opuwo last Thursday. The aim of the meeting was to discuss and share with the leaders and residents the situation regarding the current outbreak of the acute paralytic disease poliomyelitis in Namibia and its mass vaccination campaign programme that is scheduled to start on Wednesday. Amathila was appointed by Cabinet at its meeting held on 5 June this year to be the convener of the National Task Force (Ad-hoc Cabinet Committee) on the outbreak of the current polio scourge. The Deputy Prime Minister who is the chairperson of the committee is being assisted by six other cabinet ministers who were also appointed by Cabinet. They are John Pandeni of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Dr Nickey Iyambo of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Nangolo Mbumba of Education, Peter Tsheehama of Safety and Security, Richard Kamwi of Health and Social Services and Willem Konjore of Environment and Tourism. The ministers are to control, supervise, monitor and mobilise the resources of the whole polio outbreak and vaccination campaign. The Deputy Prime Minister who spoke in both English and Otjiherero at the meeting in Opuwo, made it clear to all those in attendance about her visit to Opuwo, Kunene’s capital. Before Amathila kick-started her mission to the region, she warned some senior councillors who failed to make it to the meeting and those who arrived very late, saying it was a bad practice because they were supposed to be the ones to convey the message to all who were absent. “I have noticed that it is a tendency here in Opuwo for some senior leaders to always not attend similar crucial meetings, this should stop,” she cautioned. She added that most leaders had a tendency to leave most of their duties to the governor’s office which should not be the case, according to her. “The governor is not for Opuwo alone, he is for the entire Kunene Region.” Amathila pointed out that even some of the duties that Governor Dudu Murorua performed that day were not supposed to be his, pointing out that those duties were supposed to be performed by other councillors especially the constituency councillor who was absent, saying that the duties of Governor Murorua was simply to welcome her in town and the region at large. Amathila said it was not her decision alone to come to Opuwo, but because Cabinet deemed it vital for her and other committee members to embark upon a tour to various regions and spread the message, she then chose Kunene because of knowing the area. She advised people to live in a clean environment as this reduces the effect of the current wild virus. “I know the tradition here but please try by all means to live a hygienic life. Namibia was supposed to be declared a polio free country in July this year but due to this wild virus we are back to square one and we have to deal with it,” she noted. She also touched on the shebeens and cuca-shop issue and applauded the Opuwo police for a job well done after they took action against all those who failed to comply with the law. “When I came in here, it was very quiet which is a clear indication that indeed the police are doing a great job when it comes to illegal shebeens and cuca-shops.” She promised to lobby for funds for the cleanliness of the town. Speaking at the same occasion, Governor Murorua promised to avail six vehicles from the Regional Council to assist with the vaccination programme so that all six constituencies of the region are covered during the mass vaccination programme.
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