The chief executive officer (CEO) of Bukalo Village Council (BVC), Martin Limbo, has explained that 64 plots allocated to a land developer at Bukalo were not sold, but were in fact bestowed on a leasehold basis.
There has been an overwhelming outcry at Bukalo recently, where sources had claimed that 64 plots were “sold” to a property developer. Contrary to these reports, Limbo said a council meeting convened on October 22, chaired by the chairperson of the BVC, Louis Matomola, endorsed the proposal for the developer to be granted permission to occupy (PTO) and to develop the 64 un-serviced residential plots.
He said BVC endorsed the proposal for Ela Construction, owned by Esob Ahmed, to lease the plots under resolution number BVC OC 04/10/15 at an ordinary council meeting attended by councillors Ntombi Mwilima, Laurence Mukena and Candy Namatama.
Although BVC councillor Charles Siyauya left midway through the proceedings, those in audience formed a quorum, the legally obligatory minimum number of council members required to validate such proceedings.
The developer was granted the PTO over the plots, because unlike his competitors he generously offered to install roads, sewerage and water infrastructure at his own cost, Limbo explained.
The CEO wondered what the hullabaloo was all about, considering that the same meeting endorsed the allocation of ten hectares on lease-basis to acclaimed local economist Martin Mwinga to enable him to develop a university, whose forte would be accountancy and business studies.
Mwinga wants to establish an institute that would offer courses from Grade zero to 13, including university-level courses.
At the same gathering – under item four of the agenda – BVC also gave authorisation for four plots to be leased to a business entity to build a shopping mall under whose roof will be a retail shop and banks.
“My job is to make recommendations to full council to allocate the plots to any investor. I do not make resolutions. We did not sell any plots. We offered these plots to Ela Construction on lease. There is a big difference between selling land and leasing it, or offering it on PTO,” the CEO explained.
“For me to be bribed over the lease of land does not make business sense. We simply want to spearhead development here and the Local Authorities Act allows us to lease plots.”
“Limbo has no powers to allocate land. I do not even have a plot. I have to drive from Katima [Mulilo] everyday, because there is no proper housing here. So how can I do someone a favour?” he candidly asked of his accusers.
He pointed out that the City of Windhoek (CoW) often sells land and so does Katima Mulilo Town Council.
Limbo claimed the whistleblowers making the allegations are a group of people, who have doubted his capabilities since his appointment as CEO in June and who apparently want to unseat him.
He said his critics are indignant people with the motive to topple him as CEO. “They should wait for me to die. This seat is occupied. Whoever wants this post must first go to Unam (University of Namibia),” Limbo hit back at his critics.
Regarding the appointment of staff at the newly proclaimed village council and the allegations that he was “bribed” with cattle, he said the appointments were above-board. He said he conducted the appointments in his capacity as CEO, in line with the Local Authorities Act, and strictly in consultation with the village council.
“I did not appoint anyone onerously. Council endorsed the appointments as they wished. There is no staff member that was appointed without a council resolution. On allegations that newly employed staff gave me cattle, 80 percent of the staff members that we recruited are coming from the streets – so they couldn’t have an income, or cattle, to bribe the CEO with,” he said.
Bukalo was proclaimed a village council in 2013. The government in 2013 solely funded its operations and infrastructure. It has a population of around 6 000 people and is located about 40 km southeast of Katima Mulilo, the main regional centre.