Tweya raps agri ministry over knuckles

20 October 2021 | Ministries



Former trade minister and chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Natural Resources Tjekero Tweya this week tore into the agriculture ministry’s failure to keep proper records on the land applications Canadian oil exploration company ReconAfrica made.

Officials from the ministry could not say when exactly Recon had applied for a licence to drill water, prompting an irate response from Tweya, who adjourned the hearing temporarily and ordered ministry officials to collect data on the company’s applications.

He then went off at the ministry’s acting executive director Penda Ithindi and director, Alfred Sikopo.

“No wonder the entities are in the mess they are in. How? Because you cannot account, because the ministry is overall accountable for the operation or the activities of these entities we create.

“So, if we create to outsource our functions, this committee must know about it. This is why we have got the oversight,” Tweya fumed.

Ministries create havoc

According to him, ministries also shunned cooperating with public enterprises and other state institutions because of a difference in governance laws.

“They spend money to get trained but they do not cooperate with government institutions. It’s fine to say you don’t have anything to do with them because they are governed by separate laws, but you are still responsible for their operations.”

Tweya added that state institutions are failing because ministries are creating havoc.

“These are some of these entities causing some of this havoc, because we created them and said there is nothing we can do; we cannot interfere with the operations, now who will? It’s only the oversight function which is this committee,” he said.

Not our baby

Meanwhile, Sikopo said the ministry cannot investigate allegations that Recon got land in the Kavango East Region dubiously because the matter is still under the Communal Land Board (CLB) to handle. According to him, no appeals or complaints had been received regarding Recon’s conduct.

The company drilled in the Mbambi village despite not getting a leasehold.

“It is correct that something is supposed to be done, but what is supposed to be done is supposed to be done by the CLB. The Act authorises or mandates the CLB to allocate the land to resolve the dispute and to make sure all the registrations are done in terms of the law,” Sikopo said.

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