Windhoek – Residents of 8ste Laan in the Khomasdal Constituency have accused their food bank street committee of favouritism and tribalism, saying only politically connected people are benefiting from the free food parcels meant for the poor.
Speaking at a recent meeting, community leader Sylvester Kazapua said none of the 8ste Laan residents had benefited from the country’s first food bank project launched last year.
The food bank is an initiative of President Hage Geingob that aims to distribute food to households living in poverty.
The food parcels typically include maizemeal, tinned fish, corned beef, cooking oil, beans, packets of yeast, breadflour, brown sugar and bodysoap, to the value of about N$550.
“Although many of us qualify to benefit from the Harambee food, to date none of us have benefited from the food parcels,” Kazapua complained, adding that he is certain the reason some people are excluded is political.
Kazapua, a DTA member, said the community is fed-up with the steering committee, accusing one member (name withheld) of behaving in an arrogant and tribalistic manner when residents raise their concerns.
“We’ve learned that most of the names we suggested to benefit from the food parcels were removed and replaced with Swapo members and sympathisers,” he said.
Fazilla Bock-Kakombo of the Constituency Development Committees (CDC) in Khomasdal Constituency vehemently denied the allegations, saying there are members of other political parties on the street committees.
“We have DTA, RDP and NUDO members as [members of] food bank street committees, so what they are saying is total rubbish,” she maintained when contacted for comment.
Kazapua said they had written a letter of complaint to Poverty Eradication Minister Zephania Kameeta, but are still awaiting a response.
“What we, the community of 8ste Laan, want is for Minister Kameeta to visit this community, so that he can assess the situation himself,” he said.
“This whole street committee needs to be dismantled,” he insisted, adding that there are elderly and poor people in their area that do not benefit at all from the free food parcels.
“If you want you can come and I will show you where they are,” he said.
He further said the current street committee does not even include 8ste Laan residents, which makes it difficult for them to identify the needy in the area.
“How can one appoint a committee that does not even reside in 8ste Laan? How will they identify the poor? We need a street committee that consists of people who reside here,” he stressed. “We want to select our own people.”