Change in location of hospital triggers demo

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Loide Jason
Oshakati

Residents of Ondangwa took to the streets on Wednesday to express their dissatisfaction over plans to build the planned new referral hospital at Ongwediva instead of Ondangwa.

Disgruntled residents marched from Ondangwa to hand over their petition to Oshana Governor Clemens Kashuupulwa at Oshakati, but his special advisor Michael Mwinga received the petition on behalf of the governor.

In their petition, residents say the want President Hage Geingob to intervene as they feel the change in location of the referral hospital will leave Ondangwa even further behind in terms of development.

Residents said that they are extremely unhappy with the decision not to build the hospital in Ondangwa. Media reports say the government will now construct the hospital at Ongwediva, but Ondangwa residents consider this unacceptable.

They said Ondangwa was one of the oldest and fastest growing towns in the country with a population of around 45 000 inhabitants, but it had limited health facilities.

“There is only a small clinic serving the town and surrounding villages, hence the demand for building the referral hospital in Ondangwa,” John Kandindus, who read the petition on behalf of the demonstrators, said.

He explained that residents want the authorities to build the planned referral hospital in Ondangwa because the town is strategically located, making it suitable for the planned referral hospital.

Kandindus said the town made land available; carried out a feasibility study as well as an environmental impact assessment and the outcome was positive.

“Since Independence the town has not benefitted from any direct capital projects from government but rather the outflow of government institution to Oshakati and Ongwediva,” the petition read.

Reading from the document, he said that government seemed to have turned a blind eye to the town on a number of development projects. The hospital project only represented the latest snub of the town, but there had been a number in the past.

The group claimed the soccer stadium government constructed at Uukwangula location in Okatana constituency was one of projects that still pained them, because it should have constructed it in Ondangwa.

“The Ondangwa education ministry offices and other government offices were relocated to Oshakati, with some moved to Ongwediva without a valid reason,” he stated.

“As concerned citizens, we are requesting the office of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Namibia Hage Geingob to intercede and consider this issue as matter of concern.

“Therefore, our honourable president we are awaiting a response from you, our president, in your busy schedule in two weeks ahead from now,” he pleaded.

Receiving the petition Mwinga assured the demonstrators that he would hand over the petition to the governor as soon as possible.

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