Zaaruka calls for unity among Ovaherero

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Carlos Kambaekwa

Okatjaveva/Okondjatu-Well-known Oshakati businessman Ben Zaaruka, a prominent Swapo member and the sole owner of Benz Building Supplies, has called on the Ovaherero to put aside their differences and work hand-in-glove with the Swapo government to find a common solution to their grievances.

The northern business mogul, a former bassist and leader of the now-defunct popular pop band, the Baronages, was addressing hundreds of mourners at the burial of his uncle, astute local businessman Willem Kaironduavi Mbapumbua, at Okatjaveva village in Otjozondjupa Region on Sunday.

“It’s pointless, in fact [it is] a losing battle fighting a democratically elected government on issues of national interest without engaging the relevant authorities.

“I would like to urge all the Ovaherero people to unite and speak with one voice if you want government to take you seriously,” Zaaruka concluded.

At the same occasion, both the president the DTA of Namibia, McHenry Venaani, as well as National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) Councillor for Okakarara Constituency Vetaruhe Kandorozu, took turns to unleash verbal uppercuts and jabs at the government’s land policy, notably the Land Reform Ministry for its apparent “preferential treatment” of some groups when it comes to land distribution.

“There’s a high level of corruption – which amounts to blatant theft of public property – that has been going on unpunished in our midst and if we continue to allow this worrisome practice to go unchallenged our economy will suffer irreparable damage. The GIPF (Government Institutions Pension Fund) missing funds is a case in point.

“The worst thing about this exercise is that some people have made it their sole beat to pilfer our resources unashamedly, whilst those entrusted to be watchdogs are deliberately turning a blind eye on these shenanigans,” the outspoken politician charged.

The youthful leader of the opposition party in parliament further condemned government’s evidently tortoise-paced approach to combating corruption, adding that its silence and dismal failure to take drastic sanctions against known culprits constitute an act of approval of corruption and theft.

NUDO firebrand Kandorozu said the Ovaherero people are running out of patience over the unresolved land issue, cautioning authorities to revisit their strategy on land distribution and come up with a comprehensive blueprint on the land issue without further delay.

“The overall distribution of resettlement farms leaves a lot to be desired. For example, it (the Land Reform Ministry) purchased the Uitkoms commercial farm – some 20 kilometers from Okondjatu, in the Okakarara Constituency, Otjozondjupa and saw it fit to resettle the San people on this particular farm.

“As I’m talking now, half the houses built on that farm are standing unoccupied with virtually no genuine farming in whatever form taking place on such prime farmland.

“That farm (Uitkoms) could have been utilised much more effectively had the line ministry applied its mind wisely.”

The firebrand politician added that he was not in principle against San people being resettled, but was of the view that people should be resettled within the areas of their ancestral demography.

Chief Sam Kambazembi of the Kambazembi Royal House also added his voice to the debate, pleading with his followers to put their affection for their clan and sub-tribe aside for the sake of unity.

“I was recently in Botswana, where I addressed a meeting attended by members of the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu clans, who had difficulties defining their ancestral heritage. I was literally at a loss for words when both parties sought an explanation as to how on earth people can speak the same language, share the same cultural values and ritual activities – yet are classified as two different tribes,” Kambazembi noted.

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