By: Annakleta Haikera
Rundu Rural Constituency Councillor Paulus Mbangu says it is a shame for government to only avail N$10,000 to the bereaved Shishugo family for food.
The family lost 16 members tragically due to suspected food poisoning in the Kavango East region two weeks ago.
According to Mbangu, government does not care about the people of the Kavango regions, further questioning why the Prime Minister’s office and the Disaster Programme only availed a small amount to cater for food.
“Kavango East/West regions are heavily affected by the drought but the government did not even include the two regions in this year’s drought relief roll-out programme. This is evidence that the central government does not involve the two regions in their assessment records,” Mbangu added.
Government, earlier this month, extended its drought support programme for livestock farmers in drought-stricken regions of the country, targeting Kunene, Omusati, Omaheke, Hardap, //Kharas and parts of Erongo.
Mbangu called on the central government to speed up the process of application of the Vulnerable Children’s Grant, which has now been on the waiting list for more than three years. “Maybe in this matter, incidents such as the family losing 16 members, could be taken care for,” he said.
The 16 people were buried on Saturday at the Kayova cemetery, where scores of people from all corners of the Kavango East region attended.
Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa addressed the mourners at the memorial service held on Friday, while the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs Frans Kapofi delivered a message from President Hage Geingob at the funeral.
Kapofi noted that the message of their demise was received by the central government on 27 May 2023. After considering the circumstances surrounding the matter and the magnitude of the loss to one family, he said government decided to assist the family with the burial.
“One life lost is one too many. Government regrets that things happened this way, perhaps because it could be as a result of lack of food. As leaders, we should learn from this and other similar tragic events and be on the ground so that when you come across cases where people are hard pressed, you notify government institutions nearest to you. The government will not hesitate to provide assistance when there are people reported to be in a dire situation of whatever kind.” Kapofi said.
The deceased were Innocentia Shishugho (6), Lishaka Shishugho (12), Albertina Shishugho (6), Chisola Litwayi (9), Roswitha Mungamba (6), Roswitha Mungamba (5), Rosalia Shishugho (10), and Bertina Shishugho (33), Gende Mushongo (3), Kandjeke Kamuyoyo (2), Mununga Shishugho (13), Petrus Shishugho (21), Gilbert Shishugho (16), Litwayi Shindimba (9), Johannes Manguyi (4) and Liyomkela Matjayi (1).
Out of the 15 who passed away seven were girls and eight were boys. The youngest was only one year old.
Surviving family members Bernard Shishungho, Hamutenya Shishungho, Silvester Kambinda, Lisho Joseph Mushongo and Alberthina Shishungo have so far been discharged from the Nyangana Catholic Hospital.
Currently there is one person remaining in the Rundu Intermediate Hospital.