Windhoek City’s budget exposes the bellies of the eaters

By Victor Angula |

The budget of the City of Windhoek which was released yesterday has shone the light on the institutionalized inequalities of our times where human development is concerned.

While the so-called progressive forces of the opposition coalition have in the past been vocal in their ranting and chanting against the ruling Swapo Party’s rapacious eating of this country’s resources, the very Budget drawn up by the opposition political forces-turned-ruling forces of the City of Windhoek is just a reflection of what has been going on for all the years in this land of the braves.

For instance, Job Amupanda, the leftist Thomas Sankara lookalike, has just approved a budget which will see him earning on a part-time basis N$70,000 every month from the pockets of the residents of Windhoek.

His deputy at the City of Windhoek, and fellow councilors, will also walk away with amounts in the same range.  The City’s CEO and top managers will earn salaries higher than that.

And yet the same people say that this is not even enough – they wanted the Minister of Urban and Regional Governments to increase it with 5%.

If that is not a scandal of greater proportions, now look at this: the City’s wage bill includes more than N$266 million for the housing allowance of its employees; N$299,7 million for the City Police; N$105 million for fire and emergency services; N$435 million (from the Roads Fund Administration) will be spent in traffic-related projects.

Yet a meager N$39 million is what will be spent for the upgrading of informal settlements; N$25,5 million is for economic development; N$14 million for social and youth development.

Can you see how so small amounts have been allocated to projects which will directly benefit the people?

The youth of Windhoek need recreational activities, job-creation activities, money to fund their businesses, money to develop their art talents, money to build sports fields where they will train to become the next Christine Mbomas – but just look at what has been allocated for them.

Peanuts. While the City Fathers walk away with the whole ham and bacon. Yet they call themselves “the progressive forces”. Maybe they are the “progressive forces of the belly”!

Look at the Mayor walking away with entertainment allowances of more than N$4,000 every month on top of the N$70,000 monthly salary for leading a City of residents whose average monthly salary is N$4,000, a city where unemployment has hit the roof, a City which is falling apart as a result of economic decline.

If you look at the extent of the looting of public resources at the City of Windhoek, at the state-owned enterprises, and by the politically-connected capitalists of today you can really see that the politics of the belly (or the belly of politics) has run so deep in the Namibian DNA that even a Thomas Sankara-look-alike will fall for it.

That is the tragedy of our times.