Vice-President Dr Nickey Iyambo on Tuesday expounded on the virtues of peace and unity, saying Namibians should resolve their differences through dialogue rather than fighting.
Iyambo made the remarks at the end of his six-day visit to Kavango East and Kavango West that concluded with a consultative meeting attended by over 1 000 people from all walks of life at the Rundu Trade Fair Centre.
“I, together with my delegation that I will introduce shortly to you, are very happy to be here today to listen to your views, exchange ideas and work with you to overcome the developmental challenges you are facing in this part of the country,” he said at the beginning of the consultation.
“Rest assured that the promise of shared prosperity, inclusivity, and peace and stability for all Namibians, as given by our President, His Excellency, Dr Hage Gottfried Geingob, and the ruling Swapo Party whom you have voted to lead us to that destination,remains unchanged,” he informed the gathering.
“We acknowledge the reality that the two Kavango regions are home to some of the poorest communities in Namibia due to our colonial legacy. From the estimated 568 418 poor people in Namibia, 21 percent are found in the Kavango regions. Based on the headcount poverty rate, which is 53 percent, or 118 823 people in the former Kavango (now including the East) region, these are the poorest regions in the country followed by Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions, according to the 2011 poverty and deprivation report by the National Planning Commission,” said Iyambo, who also met with various chiefs.
He said President Geingob previously said the mandate that the electorate has given politicians is a huge task and “equally so are your expectations. You rightfully expect from the government basic services such as adequate and affordable housing, electricity, toilets, water, roads, safety, education, economic opportunities and employment. As an individual, and on his own, President Geingob is unable to achieve much, but if we pull together (Harambee) in one direction of Vision 2030, certainly we will solve most of these problems in time.“
He noted that Geingob, in his State of the Nation Address regarding the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), stressed the urgency to implement “transformational solutions” such as the promotion of high-quality vocational education and skills training to address youth unemployment.
“Evidence of such urgency is the establishment of a multi-disciplinary youth training centre in Kavango East and the construction of a new vocational training centre in Nkurenkuru, Kavango West, starting in September 2017,” he said amid applause from the audience.
“Concerning the challenge of economic development in the two Kavango regions and other regions, the president through the NCCI would equally like to consult business people at State House to jointly explore solutions in this regard,” he added.
He said Namibia should be mindful of natural occurrences such as the sustained droughts of the last few years, and now the flooding, as well as army worms which also contributed to laying waste the government’s development efforts and initiatives.
On the consultative meeting, he said: “I am not here to tell you what we want to do for you, and on your behalf. No, I am here with my delegation to hear what your problems are and how we together, including with other stakeholders such as government ministries, Cabinet and the presidency, can address them where possible.”
He said that as Namibians interrogate issues affecting them they should be guided by the fact they are all equal partners in a shared destiny of an inclusive and prosperous Namibian House “where no one feels left out”.
During the consultative meeting Nimrod Muremi, a former councillor, said the two Kavango regions are the poorest in the country because Unita bandits stole a lot of cattle from Kavango.
“Unita took a lot of cattle. A lot of people were displaced by the Unita war,” Muremi said in reference to the insecurity of the late 90s when members of Unita rebels from Angola killed many Namibians.
During the consultations one of the farmers appealed to the government to erect a fence to control animal disease and another said farmers should be assisted to market their livestock.
Former deputy minister Rosalia Nghidinua said Mashare College should be upgraded to an agriculture campus for Unam, adding that she was told such plans are already in the pipeline.