Eveline de Klerk
Infighting between the Usakos town councillors and management is partially blamed for lack of opportunities at the town, especially for young residents.
Some young people at Usakos are accusing the town council and its administration of not doing enough to create business opportunities that will in turn bring jobs to the small town.
According to them their leadership and administration are too caught up in fighting each other, leaving the youth without opportunities the council should be creating. Glenda Brockerhoff, a young woman who is unemployed and resides at Smarties location in Usakos, said youth unemployment is rife at the town with most of the town’s young people just sitting under trees and drinking through the day.
“There is no development, no employment, nor investors. On top of it our town is dirty. Usakos will turn into a ghost town if something is not done by our leadership,” she said.
As a result, she says, the challenges residents face such as sanitation and access to water and unemployment are not satisfactorily addressed.
Brockerhoff said that doing business at the town is not viable as almost everyone is unemployed and this plunges the town deeper into despair.
“Almost all businesses are also closed and tourists only drive through Usakos. How do we even pay for our houses, if money is not coming into the town itself? That is why we didn’t want to vote for councillors as they only make empty promises,” she said.
Another resident, 37-year old Albertina Gontes, also told New Era that all is not well in Usakos as the council does not take the needs of residents at heart.
“Life is especially tough for the youth. There are no jobs and if you go look for a job in another town what will happen to your children? They must really try and bring projects and investors so that we all can benefit,” she said.
New Era found a group of young men drinking under a tree at the town. According to them there is nothing else they can do as there are no jobs.
Some residents said they are currently mobilising each other to protest so that development can come to Usakos.
When asked for comment the mayor, Aksel Mwafangeyo, told New Era that the relationship between the council and administration is not what it should be.
“But there is also not a complete breakdown between us. However it should not be a problem as we all know our mandate and who we serve. We should not allow residents to suffer,” he said on Friday.
He also pointed out that one of the main challenges council faces is that resolutions taken are not implemented. “Maybe we should try harder to get management to do their side as it is not fair towards our residents,” he said. He admitted that youth unemployment is indeed a challenge for Usakos, just as it is on national level.
“However we are doing our utmost best to address it. We had Tipeeg programmes running for the past three years and many of our young people were employed at such projects. However with such projects coming to an end jobs have become scarce at the town. But we are currently working on other income-generating projects with our partners and some of the proposals have already been approved,” he said.
The chief executive officer of Usakos, Gruzi Goseb, also said that the relationship is not that well, especially between him and the council.
“Things never got well after my two suspensions and it is really sad that so much time was wasted on petty issues resulting in me being on suspension for half of my five-year term.”
“Some projects and potential investors on my table did not receive the relevant attention and this thus negatively affected the residents of Usakos. But we are working and there will be development coming to Usakos,” he said