Windhoek-Governor of the Kunene Region Angelika Muharukua says there is no need to divide the region into two, because although the region is vast it has a relatively small population.
“How many people are in Kunene for the region to be divided into two?” asked Muharukua, in response to concerns that the region should be divided into two, because of its vastness.
Mogale Karimbue, a youth leader and regional coordinator for the National Youth Council, said the sentiment among people in the southern part of the region is that Opuwo is the capital city of the region and hence development tends to be centred there. “The Kunene Region is very very vast and there is a need for the region to be divided as soon as possible,” Karimbue remarked. He feels the region should be divided into a northern and southern part to accelerate development.
“Opuwo is the capital of Kunene and all the development is going there,” Karimbue emphasised. “Here [the south] there is nothing. People have to travel to Otjiwarongo for shopping,” he added. Karimbue also urged investors to consider investing in the southern part of the region. He said it is time the region organised an investors’ conference to encourage potential investors to consider the benefits of investing in the region.
“This will accelerate development of the region,” Karimbue noted, adding that the region has much to offer, yet is highly underdeveloped. “We have buying power and if there were big retail stores, such as Shoprite, people would not travel to Otjiwarongo for shopping.”
“There are no offices here. If my grandmother or mother die today I have to go to Otjiwarongo for the funeral arrangements. If there were undertakers here it would not be necessary to travel that far just for that,” he said.
He stressed that the region is an unexplored gem: “The northern part of the region is suitable for agricultural purposes. We have water (from Kunene River), we have springs and farming. There are a lot of unemployed people with a lot of cattle, people can even open butcheries here.”
According to the 2011 Population and Housing Census, Kunene has a population of 86,856. Epupa Constituency has a population of 17,696, Opuwo 7,657, Kamanjab 8,441, Outjo 8,445, Khorixas 12,566 and Sesfontein 8,434.
Governor Muharukua acknowledged that the region is underdeveloped, describing it as the “most undeveloped region in the country”. She also agreed that investors can help the region develope, but maintained there is no need to divide the region.
“Those who are saying that development is centred in one part of the region, do they know that my house is in Outjo? We try as much as possible to include all regions in the development plan and that is why I’m seen at most stakeholders meetings in different parts of the region.”
She said that one of her priorities is to ensure the roads are upgraded. “We have very bad roads because they are not tarred,” Muharukua observed.