The nauseating City

07 November 2014

The City of Windhoek Mayor Agnes Kafula hogged the limelight this week for all the wrong reasons after she first offered prime residential land to Big Brother Africa 2013 winner Dillish Mathews at a giveaway price.

Two days after the disturbing news, the media also reported that the City had offered a company belonging to her son prime land at below market prices.

While she did the sensible thing and recused herself when council deliberated on the sale of the land adjacent to the Windhoek Municipality’s offices to the company belonging to her son, ordinary Namibians were still angry with the mayor because she seems to represent the interests of the nouveau rich.

Perhaps the behaviour demonstrated by Kafula and her gang at the municipality can be traced to the way we elect our mayors in this country. Since the people do not directly elect mayors by popular vote, they don’t seem to care about the interests of the poor.

But then again she is in her position on a Swapo ticket and the deafening silence from the powers that be on the land issue is worrying. We wonder if this week’s events or revelations represent Swapo’s position on the land issue. 

The public is fast losing confidence in the City for the manner in which it has handled the land issue. We should not allow things to continue the way they are right now, and a total transformation of the way the country allocates land is what we need now.

Increasingly, there seem to be two policies as far as land allocation by the City of Windhoek is concerned - one for the poor and the other for the politically connected.

Kafula’s shenanigans come hot on the heels of the controversial sale of the Academia Extension 1 plots which were priced beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, or the so-called first time home buyers.

Why we continue to have expensive land in a country with the second lowest population density per square kilometre in the world beats us.

There is no justification for selling land to Dillish at a discounted price and the motivation by Kafula is a strong indication yet that she is out of touch with reality.

The mayor might have been right when she compared Dillish to Michelle Mclean, but for her to say that Dillish is a hero in the same mould as Frankie Fredericks is stretching the meaning of the word hero to such an extent that it becomes an insult to the country’s actual heroes.

Dillish is not a hero and she never will be, at least not because of her participation in the Big Brother Africa house.

One wonders what goes on at the council were several reports have emerged about politicians or those politically connected receiving prime land for a song. We are talking of people that can afford to buy land on their own, without help from anyone. One wonders what the motivation of these city fathers is.

The City continues to pay no attention to the ordinary people’s demands for affordable land to build decent accommodation. The mushrooming of informal settlements dotted across the city clearly does not seem to bother the City’s leaders.

For how long will the City continue to thumb its nose at the residents who have been crying for affordable land?

People fought against apartheid that essentially treated blacks differently from whites. Whites had better opportunities compared to blacks in almost every sphere of life.

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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