Outjo residents protest over electricity

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Khorixas

Residents of Outjo last Friday held a protest and also handed over a petition to the municipality demanding the electrification of Camp 5.

Apart from petitioning the town’s municipality, the protesters also handed over a petition to Central Electricity and Northern Electricity Distributors (Cenored).

Camp 5 residents are furious over plans to electrify another area while their informal settlement electrification process is bypassed.

Willibard Jarson, the spokesperson of Camp 5 concerned residents group, said since 2013 and 2014 Camp 5 area was electrified halfway and the work on electricity cables is incomplete.

In the petition sent to Cenored, residents wanted to know why the electrification of Camp 5 is incomplete while Saamstan was electrified.

In the petition handed to the Outjo Municipality, the residents questioned why the electrification of their settlement remains incomplete, which affects the studies of school-going children.

“We are unhappy since some councillors are acting as if they were not voted by the people. They are forgetting that we voted for them to look after our wellbeing,” lamented Jarson.

Camp 5 residents asked if they must “shed their blood” or be jailed before they get electricity. Jarson said municipal officials never explained to them satisfactorily why their area has not yet been fully electrified and that cables not properly mounted and insulated in the incomplete exercise could endanger the lives of their children.

According to Jarson, Outjo Mayor Kleophas Gaingob told them the Camp 5 area is not a business area and as such its residents cannot buy electrical appliances compared to Hagano.

“People cannot be denied services because they cannot afford to buy appliances or there are no businesses in the area they reside in,” Jarson said.

Jarson said a Cenored official Kenneth Kahunga told them Camp 5’s electrification will be finished once the budget for 2016/2017 is released.

He said residents are angry over comments made by Gaingob, who allegedly said he has decided Saamstan will be electrified.

Gaingob confirmed the municipality received the petition but he said contrary to what residents are saying the municipality would electrify all informal settlements.

He said no one would ever be discriminated against when it comes to service provision.
Gaingob said those who said Camp 5 is overlooked since there are no businesses or electricity appliances are ‘fabricating lies,’ because he treats all residents equally.

Camp 5 residents were resettled in that area in 2000 after Outjo municipality told them the previous area they occupied nearby the old hospital was earmarked for development of a track for horse racing. “We were dumped there like the residents of Old Location in Windhoek, with promises of services such as electricity and water but we are struggling now,” Jarson said.

Abraham Job, the Outjo constituency councillor, said government must subsidise the municipality to provide electricity to more areas.

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