Bad feelings have been boiling between the leadership of NCCI’s Okongo Branch and the Okongo Village Council since the introduction of new tariffs last year for services such as land, water and other municipal services.
After a flurry of strong-worded letters between the two institutions, meetings which took place, aborted meetings and meetings which never took place, no agreement was reached.
The NCCI also wrote to the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, and also to the Office of Ohangwena Governor, as well as handing over a petition to the Village Council’s political leaders.
But no solution was found.
In one letter dated 12 August 2019 the Village Council’s CEO Mr Wodibo S. Haulofu wrote to the NCCI:
“Local authorities the world over, operate on a cost recovery basis; the Okongo Village Council is not an exception, hence, for sustainability purposes, council is implementing the standard practice.
“Additionally, it is worth noting that it costs council hundreds of thousands of Namibian dollars to provide the water pumped from underground.
“Council has noted with grave concern the promotion of lawlessness as well as instigation of the community by member(s) of the NCCI. The chamber is thus urged to caution its member(s) to cease from promoting such practices.”
Chairperson of Okongo NCCI Branch Mr Frans David wrote to the Village Council in a letter dated 21 October 2019 concerning a meeting which was cancelled at the last minute:
“We the business people are not interested in dirty politics nor delay tactics you exhibit, and it has become a habit of your office to notify us at last minutes always.
“Since your office has a tendency of amnesia and cunning manipulation, please refer to your letter dated 9th October 2019 where you demanded the agenda from us.”
Speaking to Omutumwa Mr David said that dealing with Okongo Village Council has been a challenge ever since the Village Council started to flex its muscles.
“It’s a serious challenge. As the chairperson and leader and representative of the business people, I’m the face and the front. So I get bullied, victimized, blacklisted, back-stabbed, betrayed, lied upon and ignored by both those employed in public institutions and those elected into public offices.
“Especially here in Okongo those in public offices, be it employed or elected, have no truth in their dictionaries.
“I’m constantly misunderstood by those in authority because they have a phobia of positive change to the benefit of the community and our business people.
“The problem we have here is narrow-mindedness and arrogance from those in leadership positions, especially the Okongo Village Council. The Village Council has five (5) elected councilors. Together with the CEO they made Okongo so expensive. They do not want to listen to the cries of the residents and the business people.
“Their intention is to make sure that the original inhabitants move out of Okongo so that the Council can sell the place to foreigners.”
IN THE PHOTO: NCCI-Okongo Chairperson Frans David, with Okongo central business district in the background.