Khorixas protests over corruption, mismanagement

Khorixas-Last Friday about 50 residents of the northwestern town of Khorixas demonstrated over alleged corruption at the town and how the town council is being run.

The demonstrators gathered at Eddie Bowe Primary School soccerfield and from there marched through Donkerhoek where they were joined by a handful of residents from the informal settlement before making their way through the location to the main business area.

The demonstrators stopped in front of OK Value Supermarket, where Cecil !Ganeb, the community activist who organised the demonstration, shouted "Down with OK. It's too expensive. We want other shops," !Ganeb shouted, as shoppers looked on and others shouted about monopolistic practices.

He was joined in the protest chant by people who were waiting for transport to commute to towns, such as Outjo, Otjiwarongo and Windhoek. From there the protesters marched towards Khorixas Town Council offices to hand over their petition.

!Ganeb told the municipal staff who came out to meet them - including Deputy Mayor Emgard #Nauses and Elizabeth Geises who received the petition - that the town council was "a nest of corruption."

The petition, which was handed to deputy mayor #Nauses - as!Ganeb did not want to give it to Gerson //Goagoses, the embattled mayor of Khorixas - listed wasteful expenditure, mismanagement and alleged corruption at the northwestern town among the residents' key concerns.

"With great concern we, the community of Khorixas, would like to bring forth the following anomalies brought forth on several occasions during Khorixas Town Council gatherings in the past, but which were never deliberated on in depth," !Ganeb read from the petition.

The residents wanted to know the circumstances under which a house that was renovated at great cost by the town council was sold to a municipal executive.

In the petition, the controversial sewerage tender for which the tender price was apparently inflated and then allocated to an acquaintance of the town council managers was also brought into the spotlight.

Before payment was due, the councillors were alerted on numerous occasions to launch an investigation into the alleged fraudulent inflation of the amount for the renovations not carried out. Nevertheless the Swapo-dominated town council continued with the payments without launching an enquiry into the alleged irregularities.

!Ganeb said //Goagoseb responded during the executive meeting that they (councillors) were new in the post and could not take any action when asked to launch an investigation.

The alleged disappearance of N$3 million earmarked for the construction of a firestation, which cannot be accounted for to date, as well as the alleged misuse of Road Authority funds by former and present councillors, as well as the lack of accountability for the monies spent were questioned. !Ganeb said the residents would like to know how much money was allocated and want detailed financial statements on how the money was spent.

The petitioners also pointed to anomalies in last year's investor's conference, in the provision of town land for building churches, and the unfair distribution of houses constructed under the mass housing project and NHE.

They further complained that a N$7 million road tender was awarded without procedures being followed.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia