OUTAPI – The Governor of the Omusati Region Sophia Shaningwa held an urgent meeting with constituency councillors, church and traditional leaders to assess the drought situation, as well as the distribution of drought relief food in the region in Outapi yesterday.
The meeting discussed the challenges experienced with the distribution of drought relief food and sought ways to overcome the difficulties. The councillors had the opportunity to raise their own concerns and difficulties experienced with the distribution process that has long been attended by problems. Shaningwa acknowledged that the Omusati Region is the hardest hit by the current drought and advised councillors to track all beneficiaries carefully and to ensure proper records are kept during the distribution of food aid. She said her office is inundated with complaints about nepotism and other forms of undermining the regional drought relief effort. She cautioned those who are practising nepotism to end the practice forthwith, because the food aid is meant for those households registered to receive assistance. “I have learnt with great concern that there are some leaders who punish their subjects if they have personal quarrels among them. I want to warn these types of leaders that I shall call out their names one day.
They would be exposed and would be held accountable,” she warned. The governor also condemned the practise of providing food aid to employed people and cautioned the councillors to ensure that it does not happen. Shaningwa said every effort should be expended to ensure that no one is left out who is registered to receive aid, including many pensioners. However, the chairperson of the regional council Tataati Simon Shileka said people should not be turned down, simply because their names do not appear on lists and urged councillors to put needy individuals in touch with the headmen to ensure that they receive food aid. Shileka informed the councillors that there might be a slight improvement in the distribution of the drought relief food, because the region will now be receiving 256 000 bags of maize meal of which 10 500 will be distributed to 560 recipients on a daily basis. Previously the region only received 60 000 bags for distribution.
The new arrangement is scheduled to start on Thursday. Shileka also informed the councillors that apart from the usual bag of maize meal, the beneficiaries should expect to receive dried fish, corned beef, tuna fish, poultry paste, white rice, macaroni, sugar, cooking oil and biscuits. He added that the burden of transporting the food has been eased, because the region now has 12 vehicles at its disposal and two NDF trucks to get the food to all the recipients.
By Nuusita Ashipala