Fuel shortages cripple Otjinene …as demolished filling station come back to haunt residents
The Otjinene constituency has been hit by a crippling fuel shortage which is threatening businesses and travelers with some stuck in queues that have refused to go away for days.
Speaking to this publication, the constituency councilor Erwin Katjezu described the situation as critical and to make matters worse only one filling station is available to service the entire area.
Motorists who spoke to The Villager reported that fuel had been shipped in yet the station was having technical difficulties with its pumps which were reportedly not working by Thursday morning.
Yet Katjezu decried that even if the tanks were to be filled to capacity, they were still too small to service the number of queuing cars.
“The situation is very critical because the fuel station that we are having was built for 120 cars, it was built back in the 80s and back then cars were very few. So the tanks that we are having underground are small in capacity compared to today’s market and that is where the problem is. Otjinene is a gateway to the north and Botswana so people are using the Trans-Kalahari and it is a big concern to us when it comes to fuel,” he said.
The shortage is also impacting cattle business as water-points are using diesel.
Meanwhile, the crisis comes in the wake of Otjinene’s Maharero authorities agreeing to the demolition of an estimated N$6 million worth filling station which had been earmarked to bolster fuel supply.
The demolition was brought about by a fight over the land between project owner Ripinga Meroro and a business group said to be led by the Mutjimba brothers allegedly backed up by the Maharero.
Meroro slammed the authorities for being greedy and corrupt at the expense of residents by agreeing to receive shares of the Mutjimba-led company that ultimately won the land on which the demolished filling station had been erected.
Documented information provided to The Villager has it that the company also got the backing of the government attorney who green-lighted the demolition.
Said Meroro, “You know, there is an abuse of power. People are abusing power instead of considering things that are working for the community. People are driven by greed and selfishness and corruption. So that is what is going on there.”
He said he had to spend a night as well waiting for fuel.
“There is a crisis to the extent that they are now threatening the authorities. Now people are suffering.”
Katjezu told this publication that they will now be moving on to scout for other investors who can add more stations.
“We are really in need of a filling station. I have engaged a few investors that are interested in setting up a fuel station in the area and we are in advanced talks. Rather than waiting for other investors that had their place demolished, we decided as a leadership to say we should also move on and start engaging other investors and hopefully beginning of April we should be able to say we are having something concrete,” he said.