Opuwo’s Mayor Was Conspicuous by His Absence

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By Michael Liswaniso OPUWO At around 08h30 last Saturday, the Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma’s V5 Falcon jet touched down at the Opuwo airstrip. Dr Nujoma, who is the Father of the Namibian Nation and Swapo Party President, arrived in Opuwo, the hub of Kunene, for the 19th official celebration of the International Ozone Day which was officially hosted by Opuwo. A large crowd awaited him, among them Kunene Regional Governor Dudu Murorua, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Bernhard Esau, Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Angelika Muharukua, Caprivi Regional Governor Bernard Sibalatani, Hardap Regional Governor Katrina Hanse and the Oshikoto Regional Governor Penda ya Ndokolo, as well as other invited dignitaries. Dr Nujoma was the guest speaker at the celebration. Ozone Day is celebrated annually on September 16 as per designation by the United Nations General Assembly where the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987. Enjoined by Chapter 95 of its constitution of maintaining and protecting the environment and its biodiversity, Namibia acceded to the Montreal Protocol and, in order to ensure the implementation of the Protocol, the Ministry of Trade and Industry created the Ozone Office in 1996. The celebration of the day is meant to raise awareness on the side effects of the Ozone depletion on human health and life. Even though the initial time for the arrival of the general public at the Opuwo sports complex was scheduled for 09h00, people started arriving as early as 07h00. When the dust finally settled, a combined entertainment choir group made up of Mureti Senior secondary school and Putwavanga junior secondary school learners entertained the crowd. Information kits on the Ozone Layer, together with T-Shirts bearing this year’s theme: “Protect the Ozone Layer: Save Life on Earth,” were also made freely available to the public. The singing of the national anthem and the African Union anthem signified the start of proceedings. Director of ceremonies, regional director of education, Kamwi Kabajani, wasted no time in giving Governor Murorua the opportunity to deliver his official welcoming remarks. “I welcome you all and especially our guest speaker, the Father of the Namibian Nation who is going to brief us on this vital historic event,” said Murorua. The Governor thanked government for officially declaring the celebration of the day in Kunene’s capital. He also took the opportunity to make a plea to government for education saying that most schools of the region lacked vital educational facilities. “I am making this request because here in Kunene we don’t have a single laboratory,” he said, adding that the learners of the gargantuan region of Kunene are also part and parcel of the future generation that should contribute towards making vision 2030 a reality, and towards development in general. Finally, Murorua welcomed Dr Nujoma in Otjiherero: “Tate weya Tate weya” which, he explained, was a common and simple way for children to welcome their fathers from work. Petrus Uugwanga, the National Ozone Officer in the Ozone Office of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, touched briefly on the Ozone story by explaining how the ‘blanket’ is protecting organisms on earth. Before the guest speaker was accorded his responsibilities of the day, Kabajani called on Deputy Minister Esau to present the introductory remarks of the guest speaker, saying that even though many people viewed him (Kabajani) as a big person, as for protocol he is actually too small to introduce the Father of the Nation. Esau commended Nujoma for his role in the liberation struggle of the country. He said Nujoma was invited as the guest speaker of the official celebration because of his experience in the field and his love of the environment. “He is also a good example to the Namibian nation, and the youth in particular, because he is studying at the University of Namibia in the field of science, specializing in economic geology.” Nujoma’s studies and hard work will show the country the way forward with regard to the identification of vital minerals that can add value to the development of the country, which in turn will create employment that would assist in the reduction of poverty in the country, he said. Thousands of Kunene’s residents attended the celebration, among them traditional leaders, local authority councillors, mayors of other towns together with their chief executive officers, as well as the Swapo Party Regional Coordinator, Samutakah Kachizemo. However, the mayor of Opuwo was conspicuous by his absence.