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Tells it All - Namibian Sun

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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Aunty Nangy
  • Aunty NangyAunty Nangy I am scared, Dear Aunty Nangy, I am 17 and I am dating a boy who is 26. We are having sex but the other night we did not use a condom. Am I going to get pregnant?

    If you are old enough to have sex (which I do not believe you are) then you should be old enough to know the answer to that question. Of course, you can fall pregnant. And even worse, you can contract HIV or even other venereal diseases. Why are you dating someone who is nine years older than you? You should be hitting the books and concentrating on your schoolwork not worrying about getting pregnant. If you are lucky enough that there are no consequences of that night, I hope you get your act together. Leave this man, and concentrate on your schoolwork.

    Dear Auntie Nangy, I am 24 years old lady have a period problem. I used to have back pain, low abdominal pain, diarrhoea and vomiting. I have visited clinics several times but no improvement. I went to private doctors all I get was Ibuprofin which only helps at the time you take it. I have to visit the doctor every month which is a problem. I went to the state hospital and they advised me to get pregnant saying it might help me, but I am not ready for the pregnancy as I am unemployed. Help me please.

    My dear child, please do not get pregnant. Pregnancy is not a cure for the problems you are having. You need to get to a gynaecologist who can scan your uterus and furthermore, do a hormone screening in your blood to see if your hormones are in balance. I believe they are not. A scan will also help the doctor to see if there are any problems inside the uterus. Sometimes, when you take the pill, it brings your hormone cycles under control and this will help you. Get to a gynaecologist immediately please.

    Dear Auntie Nangy, I have a problem. I do not know how to approach girls.

    You do not say how old you are but I am guessing you are very young. One thing you must remember is that girls can spot fake a mile away. If you want to have a nice girlfriend who is honest and wants to stay true, the best approach is for you to also be honest. Girls appreciate a shy guy, I promise you, but only if it is the right girl. So smile my boy, and be yourself!

    Dear Auntie Nangy. I am 18 and l have a boyfriend who tells me that he loves me until his very last bullet. It is true Aunty?

    You will see eternal love in the way he treats you – then you will know it is true.

    Dear Aunty Nangy, I am a 19- year-old girl dating a guy who is 23 years old. We love each other and we promised each other to be together forever. Please Aunty, help me, what am I supposed to do between me and him? We love each other and we do not want to leave one another.

    I have to assume someone, be it family or friends, does not want you to be together otherwise why would you ask me this question. If it is only friends, you can ignore them and be happy together but, if it is your relatives or parents, your problem is a little more complicated. I would suggest that you find an ally – your mother or an aunt or granny who can be on your side and then, you need to explain to the family why you are good for each other. Good luck.

    Dear Aunty Nangy, I really need your help and your advice. I am 15 and I am dating a guy of 19. I want to break my virginity with him… what should I do Auntie?

    Please do not consider this child. You are far too young to be having sex. We need our young girls to go to school and learn and better themselves. Sex is for adults and you are not yet one. If he is pressuring you to have sex then he is not the man for you. Save your virginity until you are old enough to understand what it means to have sex and you are able to deal with the consequences. There are too many risks involved. Please, do not lie down with this boy.

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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Hands off,
  • Hands off, Hands off, Piracy and copyright violation cause arrests The Namibian police, Nascam and local artists are working together to curb copyright violation. This week tjil talks to Shitana who says he is a victim of copyright violation - amongst others. An upset Lieutenant Freddy Shitana released his album recently but told tjil sales were not going well although his music was playing everywhere.

    “People want to make quick cash from musicians,” he said.

    Musician, Shitana is one of Namibia''s local musos who is very vocal on social media about copyright violation when it comes to his property - the music he produces. Shitana says he noticed something different when he released his second album ''Konima yonguto ihaku hondamwa'' in October.

    “I printed about 1 000 copies and usually I would sell more than 700 in the first batch, but this time, it didn''t happen as I only managed to sell 450 copies.

    “This was very strange for me because here I have a box full of copies of my album but I find my music playing in every second bar in Katutura and other towns and villages. So my question was, how is that possible?” he said.

    During an annual general meeting with the Namibian Society of Composers and Authors of Music (Nascam), Shitana and other artists raised the issue of copyright violation and what possible avenues there are for reprive.

    The artists'' point is that they pour so much time, energy and money into making music and it is unfair that people think it is okay to pirate their music and benefit from their hard work.

    The CEO of Nascam John Max told the artists to do an investigation to catch the guilty parties and that he will help.

    “Young T just released his album on 18 November and it wasn''t even a week on the market and it was pirated.

    “It''s unfortunate because he doesn''t even taste his money. I suggested a strategy and they cooperated.

    “The Namibian police force has been helpful and we hope we continue working together in the future,” said John Max.


    Shitana and his colleagues went around Evelyn Street and requested bar owners to show them the album covers of the music that playing in the juke boxes.

    Shitana says there were pirated copies in half of the bars which was upsetting because some owners refused to tell them their music sources.

    “Depending on how they cooperate, we levied penalties on them. Those that cooperated paid less because even if one genuinely didn''t know that it is wrong to copy someone''s work or own copied work they still need to pay a fine so they don''t repeat it,” said Shitana.

    On the last day of the investigation he found a bar owner who paid his fine for having illegal music and gave them his source of music.

    Shitana got himself a memory card and started going to copy shops pretending to be a juke box owner who was seeking music for his bar. He was told to go to Greenwell because bar owners get their music from there.

    “My colleague whom I sent into the copy shop was able to get both my albums and those from other artists. He was referred to another branch where he would be able to get the album covers printed in colour.

    He was given more music with a receipt that I took to the police station,” said Shitana.

    The artists met on Friday 25 November with the Max at the Wanaheda police station. Shitana repeated the same drill but this time with the police with them.

    Just as the shop assistant was transferring the music, the police come in and took him away demanding that the owner of the shop meet them at the station. The artists separately laid charges against the company Exclusive Classic Computer CC.

    “The owner was not aware of the evidence we had and when he came in he accused us of unfairly shutting his shop down until we showed him what we had.

    “He was really behaving badly it even got brutal,” said Shitana. Company owner, Salom Tangeni and his employer Petrus Immanuel were arrested.

    Shitana said Tangeni called him to negotiate on a penalty payment but refused. “He said he knew that what he did was wrong and that he had a nice offer for me so we should work things out by me dropping the case.

    “I told him I lose out on so much because I make albums that don''t sell because of people like him. He will have to face the law,” said Shitana told tjil.

    When contacted, Exclusive Classic Computer cc owner Tangeni denied having contacted Shitana. He told Namibian Sun, “Obviously this is very wrong but I was not aware that this was going on in my shop. I won''t feel well if it were my work being copied.

    “I don''t know Shitana and I didn''t call him at all. The artists are using my name in vain but I''m solving the issue with my lawyer,” he said.

    Shitana said people who sell illegal music are making money off his work and that of other artists.

    “There are some that walk with their laptops and already printed covers and there are those that buy pirated albums and give to their friends. I am warning juke box owners, taxi drivers and everyone who has my music illegally that I will be making turns unannounced. If found with pirated music you will pay a fine of N$10 000 or I will take the whole juke box,” concluded Shitana.

    Investigations continue.

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    It is theft and it is disrespectfulIt is theft and it is disrespectful Although piracy is not a widely known aspect or spoken-about topic, it''s real and it''s happening in our communities. Yeah, it''s easy to pirate a series or movies off some website and be totally fine with it but when it hits close to home it''s very different. I took some time off to think about the whole situation and all I can say is if I knew then what I know now things would not have been the same.

    Let me tell you how it goes in the music industry. So you have artist A, who firstly sits down and carefully chooses what lyrics he has to put on a beat which he purchased at a cost of N$500, roughly. The writing process can take a while mind you, and thus can cost him social time and leaving other things just to focus on this because it has to be good, you know. He then goes into studio to record and I hear these guys charge per hour, another N$500 out of his pocket and I didn''t even include the mastering price. I also spoke to some producers who said a full package which includes mixing, mastering and beat can go for N$2 000. So now artist A pays this money for the song and still has to do the same for ten or so more just to make an album. Wow guys, where do they dig all this money from? Let''s not forget the transport incurred, photo shoots for the album cover and the CDs. At the end of the day artist A chooses to price his album at N$150 after printing 1000 copies for the first batch.

    Then you get people who like things easy in life who get their hands on the album and decide to be a distributor to bar owners, taxi drivers and their friends. At the end of the day artist A only sells 250 copies yet their music is pumping across the country. Just how unfair is that?

    These are the things happening in our very small country where the music industry is trying to grow itself out of infancy. If such practises continue happening we are really just drowning ourselves before we even get into the water. Copyright violation is a big crime that can cost one N$10 000 instead of buying the original at N$150. Let''s take care of each other guys, just think of someone''s art, time and effort being taken for granted and yet it''s the reason some places are full every weekend. Don''t be caught on the wrong side yeah.


    June Shimuoshili

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  • 12/01/16--14:00: It is What If time
  • It is What If timeIt is What If time Ghetto Ballerina to burn up the stage Local female rapper Ghetto Ballerina talks about why people should come out to the What If hip-hop sessions to bring people together using music as the main instrument of communication. Ghetto Ballerina represents the fusion of when hip hop meets ballet. As a child Ghetto Ballerina (GB) was surrounded by many genres of music but hip-hop spoke to her the loudest, and, to top it off, she is a disciplined advanced-level ballerina.

    Speaking on the What If hip-hop sessions, GB says the sessions are something that she gets excited about simply because it''s a union of where people with a deep connection of love for hip-hop get to come out and express themselves. “ The What If hip-hop sessions is basically a platform for known, unknown, upcoming and made rappers to showcase their talents and also get to build a fan base,” says the rapper.

    GB would like to invite everyone that has a deep love for hip-hop. “The talent in Namibia is so colossal and just because this genre is not as big as Kwaito don''t mean we ain''t got the ammunition that could take over the industry. You don''t want to be the person that wasn''t there during the come-up but only realises that we were slowly but surely interceding into the limelight. Fans and hip-hop lovers should come and support local hip-hop and spread the word,” she says.

    GB believes that Namibian hip-hop deserves to be recognised and supported because she believes it can even go head-to-head with South African artists. She says people just tend to be afraid to invest and build musical bonds with their local artists, and that needs to change.

    The What If sessions will be hosted over the first weekend of December. The first session is at Biza''s Carwash with a warm up show with local DJs and performances from Handel Mahela, Ghetto Ballerina, Heavy G and A.P.L. The second event, titled “The Red Cup Kasi Party” will take place at Dubai Lounge and will start at 18:00 till late with a cover charge of N$30 at the gate.

    June Shimuoshili

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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Positive and proud
  • Positive and proudPositive and proud Seven young women from Swakopmund living with HIV/Aids disclosed their status to the public on Monday evening when they competed in the first Miss HIV-Positive beauty pageant in Namibia.

    Their aim is to stop stigma and discrimination against people living with the disease.

    Out of the seven, Shirleen Johannes was crowned Miss HIV-Positive, Madlein Goagoses as First Princess and Ottilie Noongo as Second Princess.

    Another woman who only gave her name as Emma ''Big Mama'' won the Miss Personality title.

    Accepting her crown, Johannes said her mission is to challenge the HIV stigma.

    “I will go out to the community and encourage them to stop the stigma and discriminating us who are living with HIV/Aids,” she said.

    She wants people to be confident and feel free to seek medication to live a normal life, like her.

    “I do not fear discrimination,” she said when asked about her motto.

    Johannes is now the face of a campaign against HIV/Aids and is expected to spread the positive message of living with the deadly disease.

    The majority of contestants said they live a happy and normal lives without allowing the disease to ruin that.

    Others are determined to achieve the goals they set before knowing they were HIV positive and work with others living with HIV to break barriers they face every day.

    These include access to employment, scholarships and life insurance, which on most occasions are not provided for HIV-positive people and if provided, come at a high cost.

    The competition was led by Allen van Wyk, who also disclosed her HIV-positive status. She encouraged those in the same situation to live positively.

    “It is only when we unite that we can successfully defeat HIV/Aids. If we want a free HIV/Aids nation we need to start fighting now,” Van Wyk told the crowd.

    She wants the practice of people going public about their HIV status and encouraging people to live positively to continue.

    Organisers plan to host the event again next year and encouraged more people to take part.

    Winners did not receive any prizes as there were no sponsors for that.

    Miss HIV-Positive is part of the first-ever Namibia HIV/Aids Conference hosted by the Ministry of Health and Social Services from last Monday to Wednesday.


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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Opec members rejoice
  • Opec members rejoiceOpec members rejoiceOil price rallies upon production cut Oil prices could rise to $60 a barrel after Opec cut crude oil supplies for the first time in eight years. Oil held its biggest gain in nine months and crude producers rallied after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) approved the first supply cuts in eight years, with focus now shifting to how it will strictly implement its bid to ease a record glut.

    Futures added as much as 1.4% in New York and traded above $50 after surging 9.3% Wednesday, the largest gain since February amid record volumes.

    Opec agreed to reduce collective production to 32.5 million barrels a day, Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in Vienna on Wednesday. Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley said prices could rise to $60 a barrel.


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    Ohorongo composite plant openedOhorongo composite plant openedCement producer enhances local value addition Ohorongo Cement this week commissioned its first composite plant. With the commissioning of the new plant, Ohorongo is confident it can produce 6 800 bags of cement per hour. Ohorongo Cement this week opened its new composite plant and introduced a third packaging line. The composite plant bolsters Ohorongo''s cement production capacity to one million tons per year.

    The N$150 million investment was constructed with the latest technology, and inaugurated by the deputy minister of mines and energy, Kornelia Shilunga, who described the investment as a testament to the importance that Ohorongo Cement attaches to the development of the country.

    Shilunga said: “This strengthens our credibility as a nation that in as much as we invite investors, we also expect them to produce products that are of world class and quality.”

    The Namibian Standards Institute certified Ohorongo Cement''s products for fulfilling the requirements at the opening of the composite plant.

    Namibia Standards Institute chief executive officer Chie Wasserfall said this certificate would allow Ohorongo Cement to enter the Zambian and Botswana markets without additional certification and inspections.

    “Ohorongo Cement will be allowed to use the marks of conformity on the specified cements. This gives customers and end-users peace of mind whenever purchasing or using the cement on which the NSI mark appears,” she said.

    The new production unit will allow Ohorongo Cement to produce and supply Namibia with various types of consistent high-quality cement, while the new packaging line will increase the packaging of cement from the current 4 400 bags per hour to 6 800 bags per hour.

    In addition to the packaging line Ohorongo Cement has also installed a two-ton bag-filling station for special projects aimed at optimising logistics.


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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Fuel prices unchanged
  • Fuel prices unchangedFuel prices unchanged The Ministry of Mines and Energy this week announced that it would leave fuel pump prices unchanged for December.

    Delivering the good news, Minister Kandjoze said: “In the global oil market, November has been a very volatile month. It has been characterised by uncertainties in terms of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) output and relatively lower demand. The prices per barrel of crude and refined petroleum products have been mean-reverting. Crude has been hovering slightly above US$47, while refined oil has been fluctuating around US$58.”

    Said Kandjoze: “Expectations were that both prices of crude and refined products would increase owing to the much-talked-about Opec agreement of cutting production outputs to help stabilise prices. That agreement is yet to see the light of day. There is still an over-supply of oil in the market against a very low demand. Opec countries are still holding on to the ''market share'' politics, a situation that will keep prices low for a considerable period of time.”

    He concluded: “For a net importer like Namibia, low oil prices naturally translate into low fuel pump prices. However, despite the low oil prices, the exchange rate of the Namibia dollar against the US dollar has increased, thereby making imports expensive. This development offsets the benefits otherwise brought about by low oil prices. The average N$/US$ exchange rate for November was N$13.90, which is slightly higher than the N$13.60 recorded in October.”

    Oil held its biggest gain in nine months and crude producers rallied after Opec approved the first supply cuts in eight years, with focus now shifting to how strictly it will implement its bid to ease a record glut, according to FIN24.

    Futures added as much as 1.4% in New York and traded above $50 after surging 9.3% on Wednesday, the largest gain since February amid record volumes, it reported.

    “Opec agreed to reduce collective production to 32.5 million barrels a day,” Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said in Vienna on Wednesday. Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley said prices could rise to $60 a barrel.


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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Missile tests irk Russia
  • Missile tests irk RussiaMissile tests irk Russia Warships deployed to Crimea Ukraine began two days of missile tests near Crimea on Thursday - a move that has angered Russia, who has put its air defence forces on high alert and deployed warships in the Black Sea. The disagreement between Russia and the Ukraine marks a fresh escalation in tensions between the one-time allies, whose relations collapsed in 2014 after Russia seized Crimea and backed pro-Russian separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine.

    Volodymyr Kryzhanovsky, a Ukrainian military official, said the exercises, which are taking place in Ukraine''s southern Kherson region bordering Crimea, had begun and that everything was going smoothly.

    “The tests are being carried out in accordance with international law,” Kryzhanovsky told the 112 TV channel.

    “Therefore it would be wrong to reproach Ukraine,” he said. Moscow has responded by putting its land-based and ship-borne air defence forces in Crimea on higher alert and a Russian military source has accused Ukraine of trying to create a “nervous situation.”

    Warships from Russia''s Black Sea Fleet took up position off Crimea''s western coastline on Thursday to help strengthen the peninsula''s air defences, a Crimean military source told the RIA news agency.

    “The ships'' air defence units have been put on a higher state of alert,” said the source. “Together with land-based air defence units on the peninsula, the ships have thrown up a practically impenetrable shield against the enemy''s rockets.”

    Ukraine says the aim of the tests is to bolster its defence capabilities.

    Kryzhanovsky said the Ukrainian military was ready for “any developments”.

    Russia held large-scale war games across its southern military district in September, including Crimea.


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    HIV/Aids: New approaches neededHIV/Aids: New approaches needed Namibia has reportedly made serious strides in combating the scourge of HIV/Aids with the authorities ensuring that more people receive antiretroviral therapy on top of expanded HIV testing and counselling services. The country has also made headway to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In fact, our success story has been used as a benchmark for best practice in the fight against HIV by both PEPFAR and the Global Fund. There is no doubt that the fight against HIV/Aids is one that faces many challenges and it will ultimately take concerted efforts to defeat it. With donor funding, meant to support our efforts, slowly drying up, the time is now for a spirited drive from all the various stakeholders to combat this scourge. Government alone will not achieve its mission without the active involvement of important stakeholders. Recent statistics indicated that girls between 15 and 19 years of age account for 90% of all new HIV infections in Southern Africa compared to 74% in East Africa. This high HIV/Aids prevalence among very young people is a scary concern and one wonders if much is being done to eliminate this. Are young people provided with the necessary information and tools they need to protect themselves from HIV? Are they provided with comprehensive sex education and youth-friendly, affordable healthcare? We really need to go back to the drawing board and strengthen comprehensive school and community-based HIV prevention programmes. Parents, teachers and community leaders must become knowledge conveyors and provide information to our young people about abstinence, condoms, the dangers of having multiple sexual partners, as well as to discourage the culture of having sugar daddies. This could go a long way in helping to reduce HIV rates among our youth and to prevent risky behaviour among our young people.

    Moral regeneration cannot be left exclusively to churches and schools. Equally parents and the community need to have honest talks with their children about the dangers of early and reckless sexual activity. We need new approaches to intensify the fight against HIV/Aids; otherwise we will fail the youth of our country.

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    When you are the last one to know...When you are the last one to know... There comes a time in all our lives when we fail to comprehend the things that are taking place around us. Sometimes it is due to blatant ignorance, but often it is because we simply do not understand why things are happening the way they are. I must admit; I for one have been in many such situations.

    At time I would peep over the boundary fence that separates my family from that of my lovely single neighbour, Ndamona, and simply fail to understand why she is shouting and ululating to the TV! Have I missed something? What is on the TV that could excite the stern Ndamona?

    Mind you, Ndamona is not your average neighbour. She has the legs of Tina Turner, the face of whoever will win this year’s Miss World contest and the mind of my English Linguistics lecturer. As such, she is not excited easily, well at least that is what I have come to conclude after several attempts to get her to even notice me.

    I mean, there are only five houses in my street – you got to be literally blind not to know who lives next door to you! Unfortunately, I found myself rocking to the tunes of Smokie’s Living next door to Alice.

    Dear friends, have you ever sat for an examination and all of a sudden everyone around you starts using the ruler and tapping vigorously on the calculator, and you have no idea why? You sit there, wondering if there is a sort of new formula that was taught during the last couple of days you were absent from class, or whether everyone has just gone crazy!

    In fact, you turn to the cover page of your question paper – just to make sure you are in the right examination room.

    At times, you are the first to finish, but everyone around you is still scribbling away on their answer sheets. You sit there wondering if there is a page missing from your set of question paper, or whether you are just too smart for words!

    In fact, that is the first thing you think of – “I am smarter than all of these idiots sitting here…”. But then you look closely and realise that Pearl, the girl that knows everything under the stars – is still writing!

    Surely you would understand that people like Shafimana, Katoropora and Axarob are still writing – they are supposed to be writing even two days after the “pens down” announcement. But not Pearl – something is amiss! So, to pass time, you start drawing nice smileys for the tutor on the back of the answer sheet while you hope Pearl gets to finish so you could walk out right after her!

    I am not one to feel sorry for myself, but at times I am left wondering if my mom dropped me as a baby. You see, when you are in the supermarket and some dude you work with passes by and you get to see what is in his trolley, I always think twice about paying for what is in my trolley.

    I am not making any excuses, but what is wrong with buying white bread, strawberry jam (the Huggo''s brand) and some Bonnita butter for lunch.

    Eish, but it is not easy with these corporate dudes around - they buy whole wheat bread, tomato juice and some herbs they say contain Omega 3 and some other scientific stuff.

    At such times, I simply look the other way and proceed with my purchases as if nothing has happened. When they ask who the purchases are for, I simply smile and say "They are for our cleaner Auntie at the Office. Ja, Auntie Susie is like a mother to most of us…".

    I would then give them the biblical version of why it is important to care for your neighbour and to give to those that do not have anything. If that too fails to work, then you tell them where to get off in the most uncompromising voice.

    I guess next time I hear Ndamona scream from inside her house, I should probably summon enough courage to go over and in a Barry White voice say, "Look no further, o angel of heaven...your prayers have been answered..."

    Until then...


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    State security blamed for theftState security blamed for theft Questions surround the disappearance of crucial notes belonging to land activists contracted by the Namibia Non-Governmental Organisations Forum (Nangof) last week.

    The notes disappeared after unknown people broke into the car of social scientist Sima Luipert while parked in front of the Office of the Prime Minister.

    At the time, Luipert and her colleagues were having a meeting with Swapo chief whip Evelyn Nawases-Taeyele with regards to land reform and resettlement in Namibia.

    The vehicle’s licence disc was also removed in the process. Luipert has been travelling the country and has been consulting with stakeholders with regards to land reform as well as the draft land bill that was withdrawn in the National Assembly recently. Her colleagues were pulled off the road near Gobabis when traffic officials found the car had no valid disc.

    They were on their way to hold further consultative meetings with the residents of the Omaheke Region while she was attending the feedback on genocide talks in Windhoek.

    “We had a meeting with the Swapo chief whip on Tuesday at around 13:00 and thereafter I went back to the office of the Namibia Development Trust (NDT) to write the media statement on the land bill,” she recalled.

    She said at around 16:00 she went back to parliament and parked her vehicle in the open space in front of the prime minister’s office but struggled to close the car’s front window and consequently left it half open in the full view of the ministerial drivers.

    “In my negligence I thought the car was in full view why would someone try to open it? I hid my laptop and went into the National Assembly to listen to the debate on the land bill,” she said.

    She added that on Wednesday she realised the files containing some of the notes on the land consultative meetings in //Karas Region and the notes on their meeting with the Swapo chief whip were missing. That evening her colleagues called her informing her that the licence disc of the car was missing but she only connected the two incidents on Thursday.

    “What do you do with notes and a licence disc? This is not an ordinary burglary where thieves lay their hands on something they can exchange for money. The theft of the notes is for information on what was discussed and the theft of the licence disc is to undermine our work,” Luipert argued.

    She told Namibian Sun she suspects that security agents may be on their tail as they confronted them three weeks ago at the consultative meeting in Aroab and a man in plain clothes accused them of inciting people against the government. According to her the break-in into her car can only be the work of government security agents.


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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Connecting the wildlife dots
  • Connecting the wildlife    dotsConnecting the wildlife dotsLarge and vast tracts of land are critical to the conservation of animals but, it makes tracking and studying them that much harder… enter the GPS. Satellite data is invaluable for conservation A treasure trove of GPS tracking data on Namibian wildlife could prove crucial in answering fundamental wildlife questions, plus help scientists identify possible solutions to a number of issues related to wildlife behaviour and human-wildlife conflict.

    This was one of the main discussion points of a landmark symposium on animal movements and satellite tracking that was held recently at the B2Gold Namibia Otjikoto Nature Reserve last week, attended by more than 30 local and international researchers and scientists.

    Most risk factors that have plunged many Namibian wildlife species into a battle for survival are a result of, among other factors, expanding and invasive human activities and populations across the country.

    The importance of pooling resources, expertise and findings, and avoiding duplicate work, could help scientists refine their studies to help pave the way for improved management practices and strategies, all of which could help wildlife and humans to co-exist more peacefully.

    According to ecologist and environmental scientist Dr Chris Brown, CEO of the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE), the symposium was held to bring together researchers in order to promote the sharing of study results as well as future collaborations.

    Combining data from different research projects, which focus on the same species or areas or both, can reveal new insights and lead to fresh areas of exploration.

    At the conclusion of the symposium last week, B2Gold''s corporate general manager Charles Loots said collaboration could help shape public perceptions and policies on wildlife. “This is the beginning of something quite special,” he said.

    Lise Hanssen from the Kwando Carnivore Project in the Zambezi Region said the symposium had kick-started a renewed conversation between scientists critical to the work they do.

    A first for namibia

    The symposium was held over the course of two days at the B2Gold Otjikoto nature reserve in northern Namibia, as a collective effort between NCE, together with Kenneth /Uiseb from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Morgan Hauptfleish from the Namibia University of Science & Technology (NUST) and Duane Rudman and Andre Rousseau of the Otjikoto Reserve and Education & Environment Trust.

    B2Gold Namibia played a key role in the founding of the NCE this year, and has set a new standard for the way in which the mining industry ploughs back into the environment and social issues to offset mining''s destructive impact on the environment.

    According to Brown, the topic of animal movements and satellite tracking was picked for a specific reason.

    “The current situation is that everyone tends to work in isolation. People are doing their own thing, using their own experimental designs and getting results. And they share the results, but at a superficial level, with each other,” Brown told Namibian Sun.

    The symposium was attended by researchers specialising in various fields of study of different species of wildlife. All the research is based, to various degrees, on using satellite tracking data to gain insight into animal behaviour and the obstacles they face.

    Namibian researchers were joined by participants from Scotland, Austria, South Africa and Botswana.

    Through individual presentations, the attendees shared their findings, obtained through painstaking field work as well as poring over reams of data derived from satellite tracking.

    Scientists have managed to place tracking devices on animals such as tortoises, reclusive brown hyenas, snakes, crocodiles, vultures and the African pangolin.

    Buffalo, zebra, oryx as well as cattle, and predators such as cheetah, lion and leopard in addition to rhinos and elephants and spotted hyenas, have been equipped with devices to track their daily movements.

    Lion research in the Zambezi Region found that “shy lions have a better chance of survival” in the densely populated areas of the region, but as a result have less tourist value because of the difficulty of spotting them.

    Research based on collared lions found a much lower incidence of livestock predation than previously thought.

    The behaviour of animals before and after giving birth to their young, observed via field work and maps created from tracking data, has rewarded scientists with some of the most valuable insights into the species.

    Top tool

    The symposium included presentations from academics specialising in statistics and the technical and software aspects of animal tracking.

    Brown noted that GPS and other forms of remote tracking have become popular research tools that provide constant information on animal movements, connecting the dots of their daily lives.

    Having looked at a number of tracking reports from scientists however, it was clear that “one can get so much more from the data than what is currently being extracted from it.”

    As a result, many scientists, working in isolation, often fail to interrogate the data as efficiently as possible.

    Working together enhances the value of GPS tracking, because the cumulative data can tell a “fuller story”, Brown explained.

    “So it is very useful to put some of these stories together. It is also very important that we get people sharing information and data and to start to work together more closely,” he said.

    According to feedback from the participants following the conclusion of the symposium last week Friday, the event was a catalyst for realising that working together will enrich their work, rather than dilute it.

    Answers, questions

    Some of the most interesting questions raised by comparing GPS data from various researchers were about the unexplained behaviour of animals, such as elephants and oryx, in respect of artificial barriers, including unfenced park borders and roads.

    “Why do animals respect park borders although there are no fences? Is it because they fear humans and their actions against these animals? Why do unfenced roads seem to be a barrier to elephant breeding herds, which avoid crossing them,” was one of the questions some of the researchers, in collaboration, will pursue following the symposium.

    Presentations given by different vulture researchers, based locally and in neighbouring countries, showed an unexpected trend of vulture flight paths and foraging grounds.

    Vultures breeding in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana were shown, through tracking data, to converge regularly at core foraging areas in the southern African region, including areas where mass poisoning events are common.

    Researchers also shared data that revealed the extreme distances vultures cover in mere months, spanning multiple countries.

    According to Professor Norman Owen-Smith, one of the presenters at the symposium, information that can be gathered from tracking animal movements include their home ranges, migration patterns, habitat use, various activity patterns including nocturnal habits and the impact of changes in the environment, interactions with other wildlife species, drinking and feeding frequency and diet composition and nutrition.

    Sweat equity

    The neatly collated presentations shared by researchers during the symposium mask the often difficult circumstances under which the data is collected.

    The rows of numbers and graphs hide the tedious and tough aspects of spending months and years in the field, defied and frustrated by unreliable technologies, funding demands, red tape and the unpredictable nature of humans and wildlife, all of which test the patience and commitment of the most dedicated researcher.

    Nevertheless, that aspect forms part of the work, and Brown emphasised that “sweat equity” during field work remains critical to wildlife research.

    He warned that without close observation of study animals, “looking at dots on a screen doesn''t help you interpret what they are doing, why and how they are doing it.”

    And action

    The meeting concluded with a list of actions and resolutions, including ideas and suggestions of future collaborative projects and regular information sharing.

    One of the main outcomes is the creation of a virtual tracking group, a platform on which researchers can share latest data, techniques and ideas.

    The environment ministry''s Kenneth /Uiseb, one of several ministry representatives at the symposium, said the symposium helped to provide insight into ongoing research around the country and would help to identify research gaps, which the ministry could address.

    “This information will also help us to avoid duplication, which will help us direct external research into specific areas where there are gaps,”

    /Uiseb said.

    He added that while Namibia wildlife plays a critical role in propping up the tourism industry, a section of the economy that contributes significantly to the GDP, it is important to keep in mind that “we live in changing times”.

    He said increasing human population numbers and their land-use demands require that research is undertaken to understand the status of wildlife. If that status is clear, then relevant stakeholders can formulate far-reaching management plans.

    “Without research, there will be no basis to base decisions on,” /Uiseb said.


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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Polenz called to order
  • Polenz called to orderPolenz called to order JEMIMA BEUKES

    The Nama and OvaHerero technical committee members have called on the German government to call its ambassador to Namibia Christian Schlaga and German Special Envoy Ruprect Polenz to order.

    Speaking during a press briefing yesterday Nama Technical Committee chairperson Ida Hoffmann demanded that Polenz explain whether the life of a Jew is worth more than that of a Nama or OvaHerero person.

    The members made it clear that they will leave no stone unturned in their quest for justice.

    This followed after Polenz reportedly told the Nama and OvaHerero technical committee members that the Holocaust cannot be compared with the 1904-1908 Nama and OvaHerero genocide because the killing of the Jews was worse.

    “We are convinced Polenz’s utterances are a sign of blatant racism. We further believe that both the German and Namibian governments are not genuine. This is especially true about the German government. The international community needs to be aware that that the German government is reluctant to take care of its historical responsibilities in Namibia,” said Hoffmann.

    According to her Schlaga failed in his duty when he failed to call Polenz to order for uttering these remarks.

    “Polenz continued saying that the Jewish people suffered more than the Nama and the OvaHerero. In our view and knowledge, death, suffering and destruction in one place and against one group is just as painful and destructive as the suffering of the next. We fail to comprehend how Polenz as a diplomat of his stature can bring such distasteful pronouncements to such a sensitive issue,” said Hofmann.

    They also warned that the consequences will be “too ghastly” to comprehend if the Namibian and German governments continue to exclude them from reparation negotiations.

    Hofmann also rejected a statement by the German embassy last week that stated the controversial meeting was at her request.

    According to her the meeting Polenz requested for the meeting when the committee paid a recent visit to Berlin.

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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Third term for Kazapua
  • Third term for KazapuaThird term for KazapuaWindhoek City Council re-elects mayor Youthful Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua will serve a third consecutive term as the capital’s first citizen. JANA-MARI SMITH

    Thirty-six-year-old Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua will serve a third consecutive term following yesterday’s City of Windhoek office bearer election.

    The mayor set the tone for the upcoming year shortly afterwards when he told members of the Windhoek City Council and management that they should redouble their efforts to tackle poverty and other social issues, including unemployment and lack of basic services in the informal settlements.

    Kazapua also instructed his fellow councillors and members of the management committee and administrative staff to improve the quality of interaction with residents, clients and the media.

    “Whether it is at the call centres, at council offices or in press conferences and media briefings. We will do so guided by the principles of accountability and good governance.”

    He said management and staff would be held accountable for the quality of service they delivered.

    “This will be done in the context of fiscal responsibility and the high standards of prudent financial management we have set ourselves.”

    As the youngest member of the Windhoek City Council, and a member of the Swapo Party Youth League Central Committee, the mayor made headlines this year when it was revealed that, unlike most other politicians, many of whom live in luxury, the mayor lived in a backyard flat at his aunt’s house, close to Herero Mall in Katutura.

    He told the author of an article in US Namibia, which appeared in this newspaper, that he deliberately chose to live “where the people are”, in order to ensure he was accessible when needed.

    Kazapua first joined the city council in 2010. He served as a member of the council’s management committee in 2011, before he was elected as deputy mayor.

    In December 2014, he was elected unopposed as Windhoek’s mayor, replacing former mayor Agnes Kafula.

    Before the yesterday election, Kazapua said in his outgoing speech that the leadership agenda of the city council “was, and still is, driven by a commitment to address issues of bread and butter, and to improve the quality of life of our people, including those in the informal settlements through provision of potable water, sanitation, electricity, housing and job creation.”

    Following his re-election in December 2015, Kazapua committed the city council to a ten-point mayoral priority agenda, in order to create a framework towards which councillors could orientate and prioritise their duties.

    In his acceptance speech yesterday, he said the mayoral agenda remained in place.

    At the top of the agenda is the provision of basic services, followed by land delivery, improvement of the systems of operations and performance, economic development and job creation and a clean city initiative and environmental management.

    The agenda further prioritises public participation and consultative governance, food and nutrition programmes and will deal with urban transport and HIV/Aids campaigns and other serious diseases.

    Kazapua yesterday said active participation by residents and the business community would be crucial to the success of the agenda.

    Earlier this year, the mayor set up a six-month priority action plan, to which council members had to commit. This action plan included the development of a five-year strategic plan and the establishment of the mayoral relief fund.

    He added that in line with the full implementation of the performance management system, an internal organisational re-alignment will take place in “order to suit the demands of today.” No further details were provided at the time.

    Kazapua yesterday admitted that although the council did progress according to the agenda, “we also had to acknowledge and face our challenges, such as the effects of the economic downturn … shortage of water due to recurrent droughts, land delivery and shortages of housing and lack of adequate financial resources.”

    Successes included an enhanced programme for the formalisation of informal settlements, in addition to programmes on the provision of water and electricity in these settlements.

    Numerous serviced residential plots in Otjomuise, Khomasdal and Academia were completed as well as general residential erven in Khomasdal and Wanaheda.

    Another milestone was the allocation of plots to vulnerable residents in the Okuryangava and Goreangab residential areas.

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    Botswana also implements birth certificate regulationBotswana also implements birth certificate regulation ELLANIE SMIT

    With the holidays around the corner Namibians should be aware that Botswana has also introduced strict new requirements for children travelling to and from the country.

    All minors aged 18 years and below entering Botswana will be required to produce their birth certificates and passports to be allowed entry in a bid to curb human trafficking.

    The Botswana requirements are similar to the ones South Africa introduced on 1 June last year, which many said damaged South Africa’s tourism industry.

    The new requirements were introduced by Botswana on 1 October and require minors travelling through Botswana’s borders to produce certified copies of unabridged birth certificates in addition to valid passports.

    According to an official statement that was issued by the Botswana government no child under the age of 18 will be allowed to enter the country without the documents required from their parents.

    In the event that one parent is not travelling with the child, the other parent’s affidavit consenting to the travel should be presented. However, an affidavit will not be required if the father’s name does not appear on the child’s birth certificate.

    A spokesperson for Namibia’s home affairs ministry, Salome Kambala, yesterday urged Namibians who wanted to travel through Botswana to adhere to the requirements and avoid being turned back at the border.

    When South Africa last year made it compulsory for anyone travelling to the country to carry an unabridged birth certificate for their children (under the age of 18) or risk being declined entry there was a lot of consternation regarding the new regulations.

    The unabridged birth certificate requirement was seen by many within the tourism industry as a potential barrier for foreign visitors to South Africa since in some instances it required a considerable amount of logistical measures, time and money.

    The Southern Africa Tourism Association (SATSA) last year told Namibian Sun that the implementation of the unabridged birth certificate could be devastating for Namibia’s tourism industry too.

    “The new regulation will be catastrophic for Namibia as it will not only impact on South African tourists coming to Namibia, but also Namibians that want to visit South Africa. We must send a strong message that it is ill-conceived and out of bounds not only for us, but also for Namibia.”

    Both Botswana and South Africa have implemented the new regulations in an effort to curb child trafficking, but in South Africa tourism experts say the government did not do their homework.

    It has been reported that the new visa regulations, which has seen tourism figures plummet in the past two years, were instituted based on an estimate that 30 000 minors are trafficked through South African borders every year and 50% of these minors are under 14 years. Actual figures, however, reveal that only 23 cases of child trafficking have been uncovered in the past three years.

    The issue tops the agenda at the upcoming Tourism Business Council of South Africa board meeting scheduled for 6 December. The early consensus is that the government must be dragged to court and the tourism industry is keen to sponsor such court action.

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    Heavy penalties for water leaksHeavy penalties for water leaksCheck your water meter weekly Windhoek residents are warned of stiff penalties and punitive tariffs for allowing water leaks to continue. JANA-MARI SMITH

    As the water supply crisis in central Namibia worsens, the City of Windhoek has urged residents to be vigilant and to detect and fix all water leaks promptly or face steep penalties.

    Despite a 40% water savings target set for all residents in the city, consumption rates remain high, with the latest graph released by the City showing a mere 25% saving over the past few weeks.

    Besides careless residents who ignore water restrictions, undetected and unfixed water leaks are the main culprits.

    “Water leaks are costly and can range between N$1 000 and N$100 000 per month for a single household. Thus it is essential to read your water meter at least every week,” a notice from the City of Windhoek’s water demand management department stated.

    The City warned that anyone who is complying with water saving requirements but whose monthly account reflects a high consumption should investigate a possible leak.

    The notice warned that each consumer, including tenants, is liable for water leaks as it is their duty to manage the household’s water consumption. According to City regulations, property owners can only become liable for water losses from the time and date the owner was notified.

    Undetected water leaks could lead to restriction of water supply, and also push up the cost for each unit of water used.

    Earlier this year, the City implemented a domestic water step tariff system, which rewards low water consumers by charging less per unit of water consumed, whereas high water consumers pay more per unit.

    This payment framework is based on the City’s recommendation that households restrict water consumption to 90 litres of water per person per day.

    Based on these calculations, the water tariffs have been divided into four payment categories.

    The lowest tariff applies to households that consume less than 200 litres of water per day, which means a maximum of 6 000 litres per month. These households are charged N$17.77 per unit used.

    The second category charges N$26.47 to consumers who use an average of 210 litres to 1 000 litres per day, amounting to between 6 100 and 30 000 litres of water consumed per month.

    Consumers who use between 30 100 and 40 000 litres per month are charged N$48.82 per unit.

    A stiff penalty of N$112.50 per unit is applicable to domestic consumers who use more than 40 000 litres of water per month.

    A daily water consumption guide issued by the City recommends that two-person households restrict daily water consumption to 180 litres per day, and no more than 5 400 litres per month.

    A four-person household is requested to use on average 360 litres per day, and no more than 10 800 litres per month.

    A six-person household should aim to use less than 540 litres per day, and an eight-person household should restrict consumption to 720 litres per day.

    “You need to know your daily, weekly and monthly water consumption. The water consumption should be evaluated regularly against the target consumption. The municipal account is only a billing tool, it is not a water management tool,” the City’s water demand section advised.

    In response to the water crisis, the City earlier this year informed residents that the water leak rebate programme was cancelled, in order to motivate residents to regularly read their water meters in order to detect leaks as early as possible.

    In the past, residents were often refunded for water consumption costs incurred due to water leaks.

    Now, however, water leaks that remain undetected could lead to unexpected high tariffs for consumers.

    “Thus if water is wasted, the consumer or occupant of the building will suffer the consequences of the cost and the water restriction, if the City of Windhoek has to restrict water supply due to the lack in water management,” the municipality warned.

    In order to avoid long-term and costly leaks, the City advises residents and property managers to “conduct leak tests to ensure that no leaks exist. Isolate water leaks immediately.”

    Apart from conducting regular water meter checks, the City advised that small water leaks should be measured by reading the water meter for a period of between three and six hours.

    No further water consumption should take place when testing for leaks.

    The City has also advised, in light of the upcoming holiday period, that it is advisable to close the main water supply during times when the property is unattended for longer than 24 hours.

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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Save lives this Christmas
  • Save lives this ChristmasSave lives this Christmas CARING ATTITUDE: With the holidays fast approaching, Namibia Media Holdings (NMH) and its partners recently launched the Safe Travel Guide, which will offer readers a wealth of information and some tips on how to stay vigilant and safe on the roads this festive season. The guide also includes pledges made by various stakeholders in road safety. It is the responsibility of every road user to ensure that this festive period is safe and enjoyable for everyone by promoting road safety at all times. The guide is inserted in today’s Namibian Sun as well as its sister publications Republikein and Allgemeine Zeitung. The #SafeTravel campaign is also a prelude to next year’s Namibia Tourism Expo, which will be held from 31 May until 3 June in Windhoek.

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    B1, B2 the most dangerous roadsB1, B2 the most dangerous roads Tracking road accidents on some of the national roads shows that the B1 stretch from Windhoek to Oshikango and the B2 stretch from Windhoek to Swakopmund are the most dangerous roads in Namibia.

    The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) has done some research with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts in the USA into road accidents taking place along these main highways from 2013 to 2015. A staggering 40 000 road accidents occurred countrywide during this period, 11 800 of them outside towns. About 2 800 were reported to police stations and 790 took place along the B1 and B2 routes.

    The most hazardous section of the B1 is the stretch between Tsumeb and Oshivelo; the most dangerous part of the B2 is between Swakopmund and Usakos. In both 2013 and 2015 the most severe accidents occurred along the Arandis and Swakopmund roads, as well as the stretch from Tsumeb to Ondangwa.

    Traffic volumes on both the B1 and B2 remained intense over the period but the presence of animals on the roads caused the highest number of accidents (45%) and most accidents happened at night (67%).

    Blind spots along these routes also pose a major hazard but high speed poses a danger to all road users under all circumstances.


    Deputy Commissioner Ralph Ludwig of the traffic law enforcement division of the Namibian Police last week said the main traffic operations take place along the B1.

    There are currently 33 traffic units comprising 300 traffic officers.

    The traffic division hopes to add an additional 11 units over the next five years.

    Ludwig pleaded for more funding from the Road Fund Administration (RFA) to bolster the division''s capacity, especially in view of the fact that Namibia is a signatory to the Decade of Action from 2010 to 2020, which aims to minimise by 50% accidents, fatalities and injuries on the country''s roads.

    This target is also incorporated in the fifth National Development Plan (NDP 5) period to reduce car crashes by 10% on a quarterly basis while increasing traffic officers by 100 per year.

    Ludwig warned that an increase of fatalities will occur if these targets are not funded and reached.


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  • 12/01/16--14:00: Omatala haunts Shimbulu
  • Omatala haunts ShimbuluOmatala haunts ShimbuluRefuses to take mayoral defeat on the chin Oshakati mayor Katrina Shimbulu''s allocation of the old Oshakati Open Market to a property developer led to her demotion to an ordinary councillor this week. The Oshakati Town Council yesterday elected Angelus Iyambo as its new mayor, ending Katrina Shimbulu''s 12-month reign, while Gabriel Kamwanka retained his chairpersonship of the management committee, now in his eighth year.

    Although it was announced as a reshuffling of the town council, only Shimbulu was removed from the mayoral position she held for a year. She will now serve as an ordinary councillor while every other position has remained unchanged.

    Shimbulu told Namibian Sun that this was a strategy to keep her away from matters relating to the town''s development, while Kamwanka maintained it was a decision by the six-member council to make her an ordinary member.

    Sources within the council confirmed that Shimbulu''s allocation of the old Oshakati Open Market, known locally as Omatala, is what caused her demotion.

    In June last year, she allocated the land to Mouse Properties CC, owned by Erastus ''Chicco'' Shapumba who paid N$2.5 million for the land.

    Shimbulu told Namibian Sun that, “during the council meeting on 24 June last year, I decided to take the old Omatala matter from the management committee to the council committee to award the land to an owner. The council was in a deadlock. Three members were supporting BH Properties, while the other three were supporting Mouse. I then took a deciding vote when I voted for Mouse,” said Shimbulu. It is reported that Kamwanka supports BH Properties and has in earlier reports been linked to the company.

    Sources say he is not happy with the allocation to Mouse and is doing everything in his power to stop it.

    Apart from being the chairperson of the management committee, he is also the chairperson of the land and housing committee, a body which advises the management committee on land and housing issues.

    Kamwanka was elected as a councillor in 2010 and has been the chairperson of management committee ever since.

    In 2013 the management committee started with the processes of allocating old Omatala land and as yet, it appears to be unresolved.

    In December last year a technical committee recommended to the council that FAI Square Development Consortium - believed to be owned by business tycoon Frans Aupa Indongo - be allocated the prime land after submitting the most sophisticated bid. However, the decision infuriated some councillors at Oshakati, reportedly led by Kamwanka.

    When Shimbulu became mayor this year she said she decided to put an end to the matter that has been blocking development in the town. “It has been a contentious issue for the town council and had dominated management meetings this year.”

    A well-placed source reported that Kamwanka decided to unseat Shimbulu to make sure that the allocation process starts again.

    “Omatala dominated every council meeting this year, but they could not resolve it. The management committee has discussed the matter ten times, the extra management committee nine times, while the full council meeting has had it on the table ten times,” the source said.

    It also reported that urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa has instructed the town council to resolve the issue.

    Kamwanka denied all the allegations and said the fact that Shimbulu lost her mayoral position confirms that fellow councillors do not want her.

    “It is not Kamwanka''s decision; it was decided by the six council members including myself. According to the Act, office bearers are only allowed to serve for a year,” Kamwanka said.

    Kamwanka could not explain why he is serving one portfolio for seven years if the Act only gave a one-year term.

    “I do not vote for myself. As you have seen it today, I was nominated.”

    Shimbulu said that the Omatala issue has come a long way, even before she become the mayor and now, it is still continuing because of some individuals who are delaying it for their “private interests”.

    Shimbulu would not single out those individuals, but added, “there was always tension during the council meeting when we discussed Omatala.”

    During the voting process, Kamwanka voted for Iyambo to become the new mayor, while Iyambo voted for Kamwanka to continue as the chairperson of management committee. Other members are Ndamononghenda Hamunyela as deputy mayor, Johaness Shilongo and Loise Shivolo as members of the management, while Shimbulu and DTA councillor Linus Tobias are ordinary members.

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