Construction of the Rural Water Supply Project from Katima Mulio to Bukalo has been completed, but some residents of Bukalo feel left out. There have been concerns raised by some residents of Bukalo, who say they have been unable to access water as the water points are located too far from their villages and they are now expected to dig trenches and buy their own pipes to connect the main water-point to their villages.
They say this is unfair, because initially they were told the project would cover the supply of water to all the villages at no cost. “During consultations with the contractors and consultants before the project started we, the community members, had agreed with them that they will provide water to each and every village from the main water-point.
“Now we are surprised to note that only some villages have been provided with those services, but we are told to fend for ourselves, which is not fair,” said Sylvester Mubiana, a resident of Bukalo, whose village has not yet benefitted directly from any of the water connections.
Mubiana added that most of the villages are located far from the main water-point and thus it would be too costly for the villagers, as most people living there are pensioners. Phase One was completed last year at a cost of approximately N$35 million, while Phase Two from Bukalo-Ngoma, as well as Phase Three and Four from Bukalo-Kabbe and Bukalo-Muyako-Ibbu-Mutikitila will begin in the course of this year, said Katima Mulilo Rural Councillor Warden Simushi.
Simushi says the contractual papers in his possession stipulate that community members had agreed with the contractor that he would construct water-points at certain villages only, from where other nearby villages would be able to draw water. “That is what I have seen on paper, unless there was a miscommunication between the
community members and the contractor.
And if it is so this will need to be rectified in a few months in the other phases remaining. Government cannot rectify it now, because they work according to the budget,” stated Simushi. He further lamented the slowness in completion of the project, suggesting that the project has dragged on way beyond the anticipated timeframe.
Simushi further expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of some local contractors who were allocated certain public tenders, saying they are incompetent and lack expertise. “You will only find out the contractors are clueless and inexperienced after they have been given the tender and it is time for them to perform.
“This has negatively affected the project ,compared to similar projects that have been done in Kongola, Sibbinda and Linyanti and Linyanti constituency,” Simushi added.
He further appealed to the government to decentralise such tenders to the region, as the councillors know which companies have performed well on similar projects.