How Can Advancement Be Disadvantageous!

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By William J. Mbangula Onhuno The Minister of Works, Transport and Communications, Joel Kaapanda, has urged the Town Council of Helao Nafidi and the residents of surrounding villages who are affected by development, to initiate a process of dialogue in order to find an amicable solution to their problems. Speaking at the inauguration of the rehabilitated road between Ondangwa and Oshikango on Friday, October 13, Kaapanda expressed his shock at learning that residents of Helao Nafidi villages had last month demonstrated against envisaged development in the town, adding that it was not good for the nation. A proposal has been made for a railway station to be constructed next year in Helao Nafidi at Oshikango. The demonstration was apparently a result of poor consultation between the town council and the villagers, as well as the meagre compensation offered to the residents for their traditional land that has been earmarked for development activities. “If the town council had adopted a wrong approach, it should reconsider its position. I therefore appeal to the Governor of Ohangwena, the Councillors and the Queen of Ovakwanyama to intervene in this matter in order to find an amicable solution. We do not want development which will be imposed on the people, but it should come about through negotiations.” The minister told the audience, which included the councillors of Oshikango Hiyavelwa Nambinga and Ohangwena Usko Nghaamwa, who is also the Governor for the region, as well as the Queen of Ovakwanyama Martha Nelumbu that the proposed railway line will affect most of the mahangu fields of their subjects, hence the need for their intervention to ensure smooth development activities. The occasion was also attended by the Mayor of Helao, Nafidi Medusalem Handjaba, and the Chief Executive Officer, Christian Shivolo. Approached for comment, Shivolo said his council is prepared to enter into negotiations with the residents of the surrounding villages but will first wait for guidance from the Line Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development. The petition from the demonstrators was given to the ministry through the governor, but not to the local authority. The newly rehabilitated 61km road jointly sponsored by the Namibian government (N$41 million) and the Federal Republic of Germany (N$55 million) is one of the busiest roads in the country, with the current movement of traffic estimated at 2ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ 000 vehicles per day. It was first constructed in 1960. The road is vital, as it links Namibia with Angola for the purpose of movement of people and trading between the two countries. In a speech delivered on his behalf by Olof Cramer, the Transport Sector Programme Manager of the KFW Financial Cooperation, an implementing agency of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the German Ambassador Arne Freiherr von Kittlitz said his country’s transport sector would assist to ensure a more effective and efficient as well as an improved physical transport infrastructure in Namibia. “On behalf of the German Government, I would like to commend the Government of Namibia through the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, the Roads Authority as well as the KFW in conjunction with Africon Namibia, as consultant, and the contractor, Group Five, on their shared engagement, workmanship and commitment towards the successful completion of this technically challenging and high-quality rehabilitation project within budget, in the shortest possible time.”