Usakos marches for better leaders

Usakos residents have handed a petition listing numerous complaints against their town council to the office of the regional governor.

02 May 2017 | Government

Dozens of angry Usakos residents joined a public demonstration on Friday calling for the immediate removal of all council members and unqualified staff.

They handed over a petition listing numerous concerns related to management of the town.

The petition, signed by 101 people, alleged that the Usakos town council had “failed the community ever since 2009”.

The petition, handed over by Manfred Naobeb, a self-proclaimed activist and a member of the Usakos Rise Up Group, stated that the council had failed to provide basic services and to create investment opportunities.

It said the council had failed to appoint qualified and experienced staff, which had led to maladministration.

The petition further alleged that infighting at the council had reached problematic levels. “It has become the norm for councillors to fight, threaten and control the incumbent chief executive officers,” it stated.

The petition also made allegations of corruption and nepotism at the council.

The petition included 22 separate complaints highlighting the community's concerns related to actions and inaction by the town council.

These included a number of allegations of suspected corruption, fund mismanagement and a lack of community oversight of the inner workings of the council.

“The councillors do not have regular meetings with the community. They just do whatever they want, without involving the community,” the petition stated.

The petition listed concerns regarding the reliability of the fire brigade, numerous issues related to incompetent staff at the municipality, questions around the sale of erven and the implementation and finalisation of sewage systems.

The petition said many people at the town did not have access to sanitation services.

Moreover, the residents demanded lifestyle audits to determine how many houses and plots the councillors owned. “The Anti-Corruption Commission must come to the rescue of the community,” the petition noted. It highlighted ongoing disputes between members of the council and asked that their qualifications be re-examined.

Another complaint was that a bar was being established along the main street, near a school.

“The school is close by and we already have seven liquor outlets in Usakos. We do not need more bars in Usakos, we need development,” the residents stated.

The petition was handed to Adelheid Kandjala, the special advisor of the Erongo governor, after the protestors had marched from the Hakhaseb clinic to the town council office.

According to Naobeb, Kandjala praised the community for standing up for their rights and demanding service delivery and a corruption-free leadership.

Naobeb acknowledged their concerns, particularly the lack of sanitation at the town. She said the residents would receive feedback within six months.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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