Okahandja philanthropist claims political victimisation

Chairperson of the Okahandja Community Committee and Founder of Home Based Care, Kathleen Uri-Khos, has made sensational claims that she is being victimised by the Okahandja Municipality after her charity organisation was ordered to vacate the premises it has been leasing for free from council since 2005.
Uri-Khos told the Windhoek Observer this week that her organisation which gives monthly food parcels to HIV/AIDS patients and other vulnerable members of the community, has been ordered to vacate a municipality-owned property it has been operating from for 14 years as payback for pointing out and denouncing corrupt activities by the town’s councillors.
Uri-Khos is famous for being part of a group of residents who disrupted the nomination of Okahandja Mayor Johannes Hindjou in November last year.
Okahandja councillors wanted Hindjou installed as mayor for a second-year term in direct violation of a directive by SWAPO Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa, who wanted former Deputy Mayor, Sofia Upithe, to be installed as Mayor, and Gideon Uwa-Khaeb as Deputy Mayor, with Hileni Iita and Helmi Maruru to be appointed as members of the management committee.
Uri-Khos and her group wanted Shaningwa’s directive to be followed, but the town’s councillors prevailed in the end, when Hindjou was sworn in as Mayor for a second term early this year.
The combative Uri-Khos said her foundation had spent N$360,000 in 2005 renovating the council property with the understanding that it would automatically become theirs after 10 years.
She said the municipality has not been able to transfer the property into the foundation’s name because of a moratorium on property sales in the town by central government.
“I am tired of the harassment from (names withheld) who have been hired by council to terrorise me. I have reported them to the police, but nothing has been done so far,” Uri-Khos said in an interview.
“These people have been coming to my office harassing me, but I am not afraid of them. I am more than willing to fight them in court,” she added. 
According to Uri-Khos, monthly rental fees from the five-bedroom property are used to buy food and other essentials for HIV/AIDS patients and vulnerable members of the community.
She said loss of income will put an end to their philanthropic activities in the town which will affect a number of beneficiaries.
The Windhoek Observer has seen a letter addressed to Uri-khos by Okahandja Municipality Chief Executive Officer, Martha Mutilifa.
In the letter dated 4 July, Mutilifa said Uri-khos and her foundation had ignored several eviction notices.
“It is against this background that council decided to issue a direct order of eviction to your Home Based Care Committee including all tenants residing at the above mentioned property to vacate the building on or before 14th of July 2019,” Mutilifa wrote to Uri-khos.
She said failure to vacate the premises will leave council with no option, but to involve law enforcement agencies.
Mutilifa told the Windhoek Observer in an interview on Thursday that she was not in a position to give reasons why Home Based Care was being evicted from the council property.
“I am not in a position to give reasons why, but I have implemented a council resolution. I don’t know when that land was given, it was before my time. It’s a long story,” was all that the CEO could say.
Home Based Care Project Coordinator, Magdelena Meyer, said a group calling themselves Damaged Control is being used by the town’s councillors to take over the building.
“Damaged Control wants to take over the building when it is still under our control, but we will fight the eviction notices until the end,” Meyer said.
“We have suggested that they come in as partners and we work together, but they don’t want us there totally. They want to take over the building and conduct their own business there, but that is not fair because we renovated that building which used to be dilapidated using our own resources after we held a fundraiser.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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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