Windhoek – The Opuwo Rural Constituency Councillor Kazeongere Tjeundo is in agreement with those who are against the construction of the N$2.7 billion parliament building that has precipitated a firestorm of debate.
Last year, members of the National Assembly increased from 78 to 104 while those of the National Council increased from 26 to 42.
The planned construction of the new parliament building will include 400 offices and a wellness centre for parliamentarians.
“We cannot prioritise the parliament building over poverty,” lamented Tjeundo in an interview with New Era last week. There are many challenges in the country and particularly in the Kunene Region, he added.
Poverty in the remote areas of Kunene Region and the towns within the region is evident, said Tjeundo, emphasising that the parliament building is not a priority at this stage.
“There are challenges with education. Teachers in the Kunene do not have accommodation, yet we want to attract teachers to teach in remote areas – how will we do that if there is no accommodation for teachers?” Tjeundo queried.
Equally, there are no hostel facilities at many schools in the region and in particular Opuwo and surroundings. This, according to Tjeundo, has a negative impact on the quality of education as children are either forced to travel long distances to school or sleep in uncomfortable makeshift structures.
“There is a need for government to build hostels,” stressed Tjeundo. In addition, the road infrastructure in the town of Opuwo and the newly demarcated Opuwo Rural Constituency is of serious concern.
“There are no proper roads for any business to take place,” he said.
In addition, he said, farmers beyond the red line affected by the drought are finding it hard to take livestock for grazing to other areas because of foot-and-mouth disease.
“What are the tangible plans and strategies for those farmers who are beyond the red line?” Tjeundo queried.
On a positive note, Tjeundo noted that there are curriculum extensions to some of the schools in Opuwo Rural Constituency. “We have two schools that extended their classrooms to cater for Grade 10 learners,” explained Tjeundo.
Seven schools have been listed for electrification and funds have been set aside for the construction of a bridge at one of the villages leading to Opuwo.
Meanwhile, Kunene Governor Angelika Muharukua feels the Kunene Region has been neglected even when it comes to development.
She feels that the people of the region are sidelined when it comes to job opportunities and other benefits.
“We also want the people of Kunene to benefit from the fruits of independence,” said Muharukua, adding that the people of Kunene contributed to the liberation struggle by giving up their cattle to combatants and also by protecting them.