Keetmanshoop-Noordoewer settlement chief control officer Alfred Muhongo says a petition by residents calling for his removal is nothing but a politically motivated stunt aimed at tarnishing his name.
In an article published by New Era last week the residents, through a signed petition addressed to Karasburg Constituency Councillor Paulus Efraim, expressed their dismay towards what they say is poor service delivery by the settlement office.
Noordoewer residents in the petition said the settlement is very dirty due to uncollected refuse and that residents do not have access to proper housing as they are denied residential erven, with some having been on the waiting list for more than 10 years.
They further alleged that Muhongo only employs family members to work at the settlement office, and thus called for his removal for the benefit of the community and development.
Muhongo has however come out strongly, saying the petition is a smear campaign by a few disgruntled politicians of Swapo Party, aimed at tarnishing his name and reputation.
He pointed fingers to Swapo Noordower district coordinator Martha Akser as the main culprit behind the campaign, accusing her of moving around with the “so-called” petition and forcing residents to sign, some of whom he said had no knowledge of why and what they were signing.
“This is not a petition, it’s a politically thing that has started from the Swapo office here in Noordoewer through the district coordinator and her team, including the councillor’s wife,” he countered.
Muhongo said the problem started after he spoke during a Swapo district election congress, questioning why Akser, who was re-elected, had not informed all members about the meeting.
He explained that many members were not informed there would be elections during that meeting which took place a few weeks ago, and when he raised the issue certain individuals, including Akser, were angered, and it’s after that meeting that the accusations were made against him.
“I heard they were moving around even during the night, even going to shebeens to ask people to sign the petition, but this is just a group of disgruntled political scavengers masquerading as community members,” he said, adding: “How can you go around to school children and make people drunk and then expect them to sign? This is cheap politics.”
On accusations of employing family members, Muhongo said the settlement office does not deal with recruitments of any kind as all is done by the //Kharas Regional Council office in Keetmanshoop.
On poor service delivery he said the settlement office is doing its best with the little at its disposal, adding that refuse is removed twice a month and residents are also to blame as they throw waste materials all over.
Contacted for comment Akser denied being the mastermind of the petition, saying she had also just signed the petition as it is her right as a community member if she is unhappy with service delivery.
“The petition is from the community who are complaining about poor service delivery. Even if I’m a politician I have the right to sign as a resident as I’m not satisfied with service delivery,” she said.
She further stated that she had never seen Muhongo at any party meeting and thus doesn’t understand what he was talking about.
“Which meeting? I have never seen him attend any of our meetings,” she said.