By: Annakleta Haikera
Kavango West youth are demanding youth infrastructure in the region from the sport, youth and national services ministry to address issues they say have gripped the region for long.
They say they need a youth office, a multipurpose youth resource centre, youth training centres, sports facilities and the immediate dismissal of the sports officer in the Kavango West region, Michael Muundjo, stating that he is incompetent.
The youth also demanded the youth ministry visit the two Kavango regions within 14 working days.
“Failure to do so, we will embark on a mass demonstration in all the eight constituencies from Mankupi to Mpungu to close down the youth office and preside to hand the petition to the office of the regional governor,” said Modestus Kupembona, chairperson of the Freedom March Movement.
The movement held a press conference on Tuesday to address these matters. He further said the youth ministry is mandated to develop and empower all the Namibian youth and promote sport at all levels.
“Kavango West is the only region that does not have a single infrastructure or facility established by the ministry. The ministry has only one youth officer who is expected to cater for all eight constituencies. However, cabinet took a decision to direct this ministry to implement staff establishment for the Kavango West region effective 1 June 2022. The ministry seems to defy this directive.”
According to Kupembona, the lack of some youth facilities has resulted in a lack of developmental skills, poor participation in sports, high youth unemployment, “unspeakable” social ills, teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and a high illiteracy rate.
In 2021, the Kavango East region recorded 860 pregnancies among school-going girls, the youngest being an 11-year-old.
He also said youth from the region lack participation and representation in the local, regional and national decision-making processes, among others, as a result.
“The ministry has denied the youth of the Kavango West region their entitlement that many youths are enjoying in other regions. Two weeks ago, there were bid documents to renovate youth centres from other regions that already have facilities.”
He also argued that there have been incompetent sports officers who had shown bad conduct and absenteeism at work and have denied many youth from developing skills and unlocking their talents in sports.
In June, the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN)
accused Neu-Olulya Trading CC of sleeping on the job and failing to complete a N$35 million Nkurenkuru Vocational Training Centre project located in the Kavango West region, which is under the stewardship of the Namibia Training Authority (NTA).
At the time, CPBN’s Johanna Kambala, manager of stakeholders relations, said there were barely any materials on site, and the workers on site had to wait for nearly three months to get materials such as sand, cement, and stones to start casting the concrete manholes.
“There was a lack of manpower on-site as there were only 13 employees comprising of seven labourers, 5 (five) plant operators and one site agent. The majority of the plant equipment was not functional. 1.5 There was no Security and Safety Officer on-site, despite these items being part of the Preliminaries & Generals,” she said.
Efforts to get comments from the youth and sports ministry and Muundjo proved futile.