Internal Affairs

I’m not politicking with housing: Venaani

Summary

The housing crisis in Namibia is beyond politics and could lead to a civil war if not addressed in earnest and in an expeditious fashion, Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani says.The leader of the official opposition was responding to…

The housing crisis in Namibia is beyond politics and could lead to a civil war if not addressed in earnest and in an expeditious fashion, Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani says.

The leader of the official opposition was responding to questions on whether his Wednesday visit to destitute residents living in riverbeds in Windhoek’s 8ste Laan was not political theatrics.

The residents - whose shacks were recently washed by heavy floods following heavy rains in the capital - are pleading for relocation to higher ground to find a lasting solution.

“A job of a leader is to look after people. So if you are saying when I come to look after people [it means] I am campaigning, am I the only leader who is desperate for votes?” he asked.

He said his visit is also aimed at creating awareness about the harsh conditions Namibians are subjected to daily.

“I am not the type of person who will sit in my house while I hear that other people’s houses burned down. I am not doing anything for public relations or for a campaign. I am here for humanitarian purposes,” he said.

“My job as an opposition leader is to keep the government awake. If they are not doing the work that they are supposed to do, so that I trigger them,” he continued.

At the height of the 2014 general elections campaign, Venaani – in a move which saw him both loathed and lauded – slept in a shack in Katutura’s Ombili location.

Since then, not much has changed, he said.

“[After that] I moved a motion in Parliament that is adopted on social housing to say that if you have people that cannot have access to land, the government must inject money into flats and take a professional who can manage that place. It would reduce the rent prices.”

He added: “Parliament took a mission to Singapore to study social housing and up to now, we are asking why it is not being implemented.”

During Venaani’s visit, 68-year-old Magdalena Mukoko narrated their Sunday afternoon ordeal when her shack has nearly washed away by the flash floods. She lives with her daughter, a friend, and eight children.

One of the pensioner’s grandchildren has a disability and would be “unable to help himself should a stronger flood come.”

Mukoko survives on government’s monthly pension grant, while her daughter is a domestic worker.

“I have been applying for land from the municipality but to no success. We need urgent help,” she pleaded.

The PDM leader promised to donate food supplies and other household needs to the destitute families whose houses were ravaged by floods.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency