MPUNGU – President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Saturday lambasted some Kavango West residents for constantly blocking development projects by refusing to cede land.
Pohamba also blasted some residents who constantly threaten to boycott polls whenever elections draw near.
Pohamba was so annoyed with Kavango West residents during Saturday’s packed rally that he later had to apologize for losing his temper.
“Yesterday I got somehow emotional, I am sorry. Oshiwana ombili (Sorry to the nation)!” apologized Pohamba. Some of the community members instigating the threats and sabotaging government efforts were also in attendance and are known to Pohamba, though he saved them the shame of not naming them.
He accused the residents of often standing in the way of government’s developmental projects by refusing to give up their land and even going as far as threatening to boycott next year’s national elections.
He particularly made reference to residents of Siyambi village who, a few years back, blocked the state from constructing a green scheme irrigation project in the area.
“When Chief Sitentu wanted to put up a place near Simanya the people said no. The people in Mbunza also opposed and attacked the Mbunza chief when we put up Sikondo irrigation project, but now that we are done, everyone is happy because they are employed at the project and they take food home,” said the president.
“If you do not allow development to come to your area you will remain backward and then you will start threatening because that is what you know,” charged Pohamba.
“It is two times now that people of Kavango West are threatening the government, threatening the party, first they threatened not to vote if the road between Rundu and Nkurenkuru is not tarred. I called them in and talked to them, I told them, and I am telling them again that Kavango, like Ohangwena, is a poor region,” he said.
The road was eventually put up, but the president made it clear that it was not put up because government succumbed to the threats but simply because “the Swapo government has its own development plans”.
Residents in Kavango West a few years ago threatened to boycott the 2009 national elections when they claimed that they would not vote if government does not construct a tarred road between Rundu and Elundu.
When you demand tarmac, he said, “do you know where the money is coming from, does it come from the fish you catch in your region? No, absolutely not.”
“Development is done with resources from other regions because we as government sit down and look through the country and decide where to put up infrastructure. We do not look at which region produces what, if we do that then development has to go where the diamonds come from,” said a livid Pohamba.
“I am saying again, if you do not want to vote then stay home. But do not expect someone to come from your area to represent your views in parliament because you did not vote for anybody. The people west of Rundu must change their minds. Do not repeat this, it is senseless,” he said.
“When we come asking for land in order to put up infrastructure, move out, give way for development,” pleaded Pohamba.
By Mathias Haufiku