Omaheke residents will stage a mass demonstration against alleged corrupt officials on Wednesday. Photo: meatco.com

The cattle town of Gobabis is expected to be the center of attention on Wednesday, as Omaheke residents are set to stage what is expected to be the largest-ever demonstration in that area.

The residents are expressing their frustration against alleged corrupt officials within the regional council.

At the center of the commotion are two burning issues, including a 2017 report by the Office of the Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke which recorded that the Omaheke Regional Council was unable to account for N$63 million from its coffers.

The missing millions, were meant for much-needed services such as the supply and servicing of residential plots, water and sanitation among others under the regional development plans.

Secondly, Omaheke residents have further been irked by findings of alleged misappropriation or embezzlement of funds uncovered during a recent council meeting through a motion tabled on August 20.

As a result, the mass demonstration planned for Wednesday, is expected to bring together close to 200 people from constituencies in that region.

This is just a day away from a regional council meeting expected to discuss a motion to allow for the investigation into allegations of maladministration, mismanagement of funds and inappropriate payment of suppliers, and the ultimate suspension of the region’s chief regional officer (CRO) Maria Vaendwanawa.

The residents are further questioning the perceived reluctance by the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) director Paulus Noa to institute investigations into the affairs of both Omaheke Regional Council and Gobabis Municipality, in the face of Kandjeke’s report.

Speaking to CND-News from Gobabis, Veronia Mokaleng- Kuzeeko, who is one of the organizers for the march, stressed that the inhabitants are disappointed and discontent with the management and misappropriation of funds at these two institutions.

“The regional council has been entrusted by the central government to ensure the wellbeing of its inhabitants,” Mokaleng- Kuzeeko told CND-News.

According to her, the call for the suspension of the CRO was to allow for an independent body to investigate the matter, however the motion was postponed to Thursday.

“As a result, the entire Omaheke Region residents, irrespective of political affiliation, have decided to stage this peaceful demonstration to submit petitions to the Omaheke Regional Council and the Office of the Omaheke Governor [Festus Ueitele].”

The march will start from Epako Community Hall in Thlabanello Street and it will join the Nossobville community at the T-junction into the Church Street on the Kalahari Highway up to the regional council office and again back into the Church Street to the governor’s office.

Other concerns relating to Gobabis Municipality which were raised by the residents include:

•       The sale of 107 erven without prior approval of central government to property developer Oluzizi Engineering CC at a selling price of N$23 per square meter instead of the gazetted tariff of N$50.82 per square meter. 

•       The questionable awarding and servicing of erven in extent of more than 3 000 per square meter each, to two senior management members of the Gobabis Municipality

•       Claims of nepotism after the forceful removal of resident Peanut Hoxobeb from erf 1720, Extension 3 better known as Ongulumbashe, later said to have been allocated to a relative of a senior Gobabis municipal official.

•       The contract between Tuahangana Solid Waste Management and the Gobabis Municipality which committed the municipal council to monthly payments amounting to N$111 427.70 per month and later increased to N$131 062.61 per month.

•       The questionable 2012 transfer of N$7 353 356.30 Build Together Program funds from the Omaheke Regional Council to the Gobabis Municipality.

•       Electricity sales understated by N$2 678 628

•       Sewer charges understated by N$2 312 584

•       Sanitation charges understated by N$1 214 246

•       Cash stolen through short banking amounting to N$767 915.

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