'Pohamba was misled'

A storm has erupted over the non-completion of government projects in poverty-stricken Kavango West, which says it feels neglected by central government.

22 May 2019 | Government

Kavango West regional council chairperson Joseph Sivaku Sikongo says former president Hifikepunye Pohamba was misled when he conducted a groundbreaking ceremony in 2014 for the much-anticipated Nkurenkuru district hospital, ahead of the general election that year.



Not a single brick has been taken to site since that year and Sikongo is adamant that the ministry misled the former head of state.

Sikongo said they still don't understand why the project has not kicked off.

Sikongo added that whenever Pohamba visits Nkurenkuru, he always enquires about the district hospital's operations. They have had to inform him that nothing has materialised.

“Even the former head of state Hifikepunye Pohamba was misled to come and do a groundbreaking here in Nkurenkuru for the district hospital,” Sikongo said.

“I don't know what the ministry did by telling the former president to come and do the groundbreaking, but up to today, for five years now, nothing has been done. You who are sitting in parliament are just approving budgets of the line ministry. Here they even misled the head of state.”

Sikongo left no stone unturned when he expressed his disappointment to the parliamentary standing committee on economics and public administration, led by Heather Sibungo, who visited Nkurenkuru this past Friday.

The Kavango West regional council says it is facing increasing questions from residents about promises that were made by the government, and yet little or no progress has been made.

Some planned capital projects have not kicked off and others are incomplete after being abandoned by contractors, with no explanations given.

The regional council also feels neglected by central government, saying it does not understand why their projects are put on hold because of budget issues, while other regions are pushing ahead with their initiatives.

Sikongo indicated they are tired of facing questions from the electorate about unfulfilled promises.

Sikongo also pointed out that the much-publicised incomplete Nkurenkuru clinic, which was supposed to be operational about four years ago, is still not completed. He called on the health ministry to address the issue.

He also lashed out about teacher houses at various schools being incomplete, and which have now been turned into ablution facilities by learners.





Namibian Sun visited Kasivi Combined School where human waste was seen in the three incomplete teacher houses.



Sikongo also spoke about the N$18 million that was budgeted for the construction of the Kavango West office park, saying the money was only enough for the bulk services and they are still waiting on the funds for the actual construction to commence.



He said the regional council rents a premises while the governor operates from a rented house; something he said is not ideal for effective governance.



“Comrades, in some regions there are projects which were approved a long time ago that are not affected by these budget issues. They are still continuing with them to complete them, but here when we start, we are always being told to stop and we stop,” Sikongo said.



He urged the parliamentary committee to do follow-ups with the line ministries whose projects are not completed.



“We understand you are here to rescue us, but if it's a situation about you asking us questions and we tell you and then the ministries will report to you that the projects will be finished (sic). There will come a day when you come to us and we tell you to go away,” he said.



Regarding the issue of contractors abandoning projects, Kavango West police commander, Commissioner Josephat Abel, wanted to know whether there are any procedures that will allow the police to arrest the errant contractors.



Sibungo said not much has changed in Kavango West since 2015, when she also visited the region.



“Kavango West, which is a new region, we cannot have a new region which looks like this. It is still the same, just like when I visited it in 2015,” Sibungo said.



She indicated that after observing the capital projects in the region, they will report back to parliament and hold the relevant ministries accountable, as they should explain why certain projects have not been implemented.







Ministry response



In a response issued by health executive director Ben Nangombe, the ministry said as per the roadmap to construct district hospitals at Nkurenkuru, Ondangwa and Khomas, a feasibility study for the construction of the Nkurenkuru district hospital has been finalised.



“The ministry is compiling new standards and norms of hospitals and these are being used to re-modify the feasibility for the designated hospital to be responsive to the needs of a modern hospital. These standards are to do with patient flow, the outpatient department, casualty, the wards and other diagnostic services so that all district hospitals have a similar standard. Therefore, once this is finalised, full design will be commissioned,” the ministry said.



It said further that in order to prepare the “Nkurenkuru hospital virgin site” for the construction the following has or is to be undertaken:

· Bulk potable water. Two boreholes have been drilled on the hospital site and a request for advertisement on bulk reservoir tanks to supply the site was prepared for advertisement in 2016. However, due to the midterm budget review and fiscal consolidation of the budget in 2016 the project could not commence; and

Bulk electricity services. The bulk electrical supply tender was also concluded in 2016. However, due to the midterm budget review and fiscal consolidation of the budget in 2016 the project could not commence.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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