Opuwo’s Water Crisis Finally Settled

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By Michael Liswaniso OPUWO Learners of Mureti Senior Secondary School, the only school of that eminence in the hub of Kunene Region, boycotted classes all day last Friday demanding a solution to their water problem. They had been without water since September 11 following the town council’s decision to suspend all water defaulters’ services. Not only Mureti, but all schools in the town were affected. Other institutions of the Ministry of Education are: Putwavanga Junior Secondary School, Opuwo Primary School, Kameru Primary School and the Teachers’ Resource Centre which houses the office of the Regional Director of Education, Kamwi Kabajani. Claiming that there have been too many promises which have not been kept, the learners decided to take it upon themselves to voice their grievances to the regional director’s office and the town council. However, the school principal of Mureti, Ambrosius Tjizu, after an assurance that the service was going to be restored the same day, called on all learners to call off the planned march together with the police who would provide escort. He also told the learners to drop the class boycott, assuring them that the town council would restore the service the same day. “We got word from our Regional Director that all was going to be settled this week with today (Friday) as the final day for everything. We had all been patient all along and I know our government’s logistic procedure, so I was just wondering why the learners became impatient and decided to boycott today,” Said Tjizu. “This is one of the oldest schools in town, and you can image it is not only the water crisis, but there are other things as well which need to be replaced and renovated, but we are just being patient. The conditions we operate under are better than at other schools in the country, so I really advised them to go back to their classes instead of boycotting because the problem had already been dealt with, but most of them refuted and continued to boycott,” he said. Even though the principal called on all learners to head back to their classes, they refused, and continued to wave their placards aloft. Some of the placards read: “No water no school, no water no life; Poor hygiene can lead to Polio; Thirst of water, please, please supply us with water; We need water, our hostel and properties are all dirty.” They also compiled a one-page petition which they wanted to deliver to the regional director’s office as well as the town council but because of the call-off of the peaceful demonstration, they could not deliver it and decided to stay away from classes. “Staying away does not help, especially this time of the year when learners are in their final hours. I personally understand all the problems associated with doing without water, but when the green light of solving the problem is flashed, then I see no need to stay away. It is just a matter of being patient,” said Tjizu. Learners who spoke to New Era claimed “enough was enough” over the promises, adding that a week ago they had been promised water but nothing came, which prompted them to lose faith in the authorities. “We are really suffering with this problem that is affecting our education because, instead of us going to our studies, we have had to go in search of water. For how long are we going to do without water after these promises are coming and going?” said one learner who served as the group spokesperson and requested not to be named. The water was restored on Friday late afternoon. “I am just happy that we are now going to start afresh again with our normal schedules,” said one Mureti learner shortly after the water was restored. The Ministry of Education owed a combined debt of N$490ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 284.76 on basic water, sewage and refuse removal, a debt dating back to earlier this year. The debt was settled in full.