Councillor threatens to shame those trading mahangu for alcohol

KAHENGE: Kahenge Constituency Councillor Joseph Sikongo on Tuesday warned people who exchange their mahangu for alcohol that they will be named and shamed publicly.

The councillor of this constituency in the Kavango West Region said he is disturbed by reports of some villagers who harvest their mahangu, and then go directly to local liquor outlets to exchange it for traditional brews known in Rukavango as ‘Mundevere’ and ‘Kasipembe’.

Mundevere is an addictive traditional brew made from sorghum, while Kasipembe is made from mangetti nuts.

The months of April and May are periods when most subsistence farmers in these regions harvest their mahangu and maize crops.

Sikongo thus issued a stern warning to those swapping food for alcohol to refrain from such practices.

He told Nampa in an interview on Wednesday that the Kahenge constituency office is designing a form which will be distributed to the Village Development Committees so that they could register the names of those who are trading mahangu for alcohol.

Sikongo explained that the tendency of bartering food for alcohol is what is responsible for many people starving in the Kavango regions.

“We will expose those who are exchanging their food for alcohol so that we can put an end to it. I am very serious about this,” the councillor stressed.

Sikongo is so disturbed by the issue that he issued a similar warning on the local Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)’s Rukavango radio call-in programme on Tuesday morning.

He warned that those exchanging mahangu for alcohol would be named and shamed via the local media in order to deter others from doing the same.

Sikongo said subsistence farmers should know how to use food sustainably, especially in light of the drought which was experienced throughout the country last year.