Kavango East unshaken by boycott threats

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WINDHOEK, 02 July 2014 - Kavango East Regional Governor Samuel Mbambo directs the proceedings of the opening session of the 2nd National Conference on Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The theme of the conference is 'Unifying Action Against Gender-Based Violence in Namibia'. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

John Muyamba

Rundu-Kavango East Governor Samuel Mbambo says the reported attempts to discourage residents of the region from attending main event of the Independence Day celebrations at Rundu are doomed to fail, because locals are over the moon about the event.

“I read about it (the boycott plan) the day it was published and I informed the President that that’s not how the region feels,” he told New Era yesterday. “It’s just some few people who are not having the development concern of the country [at heart], but we as the entire region welcome the idea to host the Independence Day celebrations this month,” Mbambo said.

Kavango West Regional Governor Sirkka Ausiku also told New Era yesterday that hordes of people in her region are expected to flock Rundu to join the celebrations, which would see President Hage Geingob addressing the nation from that town.

The weekly Windhoek Observer reported on Friday that prominent residents of the two Kavango regions are using a WhatsApp group to discuss how to mobilise local chiefs and residents to snub government’s 27-year independence celebrations at Rundu.

It is believed the authors of the plan are dissatisfied with the level of development and inclusiveness in the two regions. Mbambo described the plan as being short-sighted and opposed to the ideals of nation-building.

“If you’re poor, you must work hard to be better, be productive. This is why some of us are trying to better the region with the food production operation, Operation Werengendje, to make sure that we alleviate hunger in the region by empowering people to work in their fields,” Mbambo said.

“Those who feel that the region is left out, or poor and want to boycott the celebrations could join us and when we’re done with the interventions then they can say we have tried and failed and the government did not support us… not just stand there doing nothing. You don’t even have a garden in your backyard to save you from hunger, but all you do is just talk,” Mbambo added.

He said many people in his region recognise that independence is for all Namibians and would therefore not be selfish to concentrate on their own plight only. “I’m encouraging everyone to work together, so that we organise and celebrate this Independence Day celebration like it has always been celebrated over the years.”

Swapo regional coordinator for Kavango West David Hamutenya said some of those behind the plan to boycott the event are disgruntled Swapo members, who should direct their frustration towards the party and not government, which is organising the celebrations.

“If you are aggrieved with the party, or an individual, then direct your anger towards them and not government,” Hamutenya said. “They spoke of exclusion, but this is seen in the context of individualism and not in the national interest. If anything, attending the celebration actually provides a platform for those aggrieved to engage the country’s political leadership.”

Swapo regional coordinator for Kavango East Marceline Kahare also told New Era that the residents of the region were excited about the celebrations and predicts they would come in huge numbers on the day. “We have not heard of people supporting that idea [of boycotting the celebrations],” she noted.

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