Drought food scandal rocks Rundu

13 November 2019 | Local News

The Rundu Urban constituency office has been accused of only registering residents aligned to Swapo to benefit from the drought relief food programme currently underway.

Constituency councillor Vicky Kauma has denied the allegations, saying they are news to her.

Yesterday a number of disgruntled families at Rundu's Tumweneni informal settlement shared with Namibian Sun how they were excluded from the opportunity to benefit from the drought relief programme, because they do not support Swapo.

The allegations are that Swapo members who visited Tumweneni last week had a meeting with community members and leaders under the pretext of recording their ruling party membership, which included their names and voter card registration numbers.

The community members belonging to other political parties stayed away from the engagement.

This past Sunday, community leaders who were involved in the registration of Swapo members informed the community that the registration which took place days before was indeed the registration for the people to benefit from the drought relief programme.

On Monday, the Rundu Urban district started with the drought relief programme at which registered community members received a 10 kilogram bag of rice, four tins of fish and cooking oil.

A number of Tumweneni informal settlement residents now feel left out.

“What happened is not fair to us,” one women said.

“How can we be discriminated against if the drought relief programme is a national programme aimed at assisting us all? As you can see I am having three children and I am unemployed.

“What are the criteria for one to benefit from the drought relief? There are people in this community who are better off than me and they got something simply because they belong to Swapo. Tell me is that fair?” she said.

Namibian Sun also learnt that some of the beneficiaries of the drought relief programme from this particular community were tipped off that the registration of Swapo voters was in fact a registration exercise for the drought relief programme.

This led to some of them registering as Swapo members to benefit from the food aid.

One of the beneficiaries confirmed what transpired, as alluded to by the aggrieved community members.

The source, who at first did not want to reveal what happened, said she is “scared” to talk but eventually opened up after she was promised anonymity.

“Last week there was a meeting here and we were told it's a Swapo meeting and that they only wanted to register their members. However, on Sunday we were called for another meeting and that is where we were informed that the list of names that was compiled was for the drought relief. Yesterday I went to the constituency office and I got my parcel,” she explained.

Yesterday, at the Rundu Urban constituency office, Namibian Sun found more than 100 women, men and children awaiting to receive their food parcels.

The officials were in a meeting.

Kauma said during a telephone call that the allegations levelled against her office were news to her.

“I am not aware of it,” Kauma said. Kauma indicated she was out of the office for some time, before explaining it is not the first time her office is dealing with the distribution of drought relief.

She said the food was never distributed on the basis of party political affiliation.

Kauma stressed they always rely on the assistance of community leaders in terms of identifying needy people.

When asked what the procedures are in terms of identifying people in need of aid, Kauma said they rely on the information provided by the community leaders.

This follows accusations that her office had not gone door to door to determine which families are actually in need.

Some disgruntled Tumweneni community members told Namibian Sun it is not right for people to be registered under a tree.

Kauma indicated that due to the limited number of food parcels, not everyone will be able to benefit from the drought relief scheme.

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