Residents of Olukumwa village in Okongo Constituency in Ohangwena Region have threatened not to participate in the forthcoming regional and local elections because they feel development has not yet reached their village 25 years after independence. They say they do not even have a clinic or school for the sprawling village dotted with dozens of huts.
A group of villagers including the headwoman of Olukumwa, Magdalena Mbalanumbus, told New Era their village has been left out in the cold and they are tired of waiting to taste the fruits of independence.
“The only thing we have benefited from is peace and stability. But we don’t have access to clean water, we don’t have youth projects, no health extension workers, and we have to walk long distances to access facilities,” one Olukumwa villager said with others in unison.
Villagers further accused their councillor of neglecting their needs, adding that he never even bothers to update them on anything.
“The last time we met with the councillor in our village was in 2010 when he came to campaign for the election. We always vote without any problem. But this year we will refuse, it is getting too much,” said another villager.
According to residents the councillor only focuses on certain villages, but certainly not theirs.
“We don’t have water and we try our best to dig as many boreholes as we can but the place is dry. Currently the whole village of more than 50 homes survives on only one borehole,” said the villager.
Olukumwa residents depend on natural water in small boreholes, which are used by both people and animals.
According to Mbalanumbus, the 78-year-old headwoman, days can pass with many villagers having no water to drink because the more energetic younger people wake up as early as possible to fetch water and leave nothing for the elderly.
“Some people wake up as early as three o’clock in the morning to go fetch water, and I wake up at around nine o’clock because I am old. When I go to the borehole there is no water,” said Mbalanumbus. She urged the councillor to see that they have a reliable source of water for all, maybe a water tank if digging boreholes is too costly.
When New Era visited the village, people were going back home with empty containers claiming there was no more water in the borehole, and that they would just have to return the next day in the hope that there would be some water for them.
Mbalanumbus was very excited to see New Era visiting her village as, according to her, they hardly get any visit by any government official.
The Okongo Constituency Councillor Paulus Mwahanikange said development projects were underway in the constituency but called for patience.
He added that water points were being installed in Okongo despite the poor pipeline connections.