The incident during which 16 family members of Kayova village in the Kavango East region died due to suspected food poisoning last week, is a wake-up call to everyone in Namibia in the fight against poverty and hunger.
This is according to the secretary general of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Manuel Ngaringombe.
It is suspected that the 16 people, including a one-year-old baby, out of a family of 24 who reside at the same homestead at Kayova in the Ndiyona constituency, died after consuming poisonous porridge made from the residue of traditional beer.
“Namibians need a decent meal on their table. It’s a shame to me and many other politicians in this country to have such a situation.
“It’s a wake-up call to political leaders, especially to the leaders of constituencies, villages and leaders in government, to make sure such a day never happens in this country again.
“I call upon the regional councillor of this constituency, the governor, the central government . . . to all wake up and ask how we can fight poverty and hunger in our country,” Ngaringombe said during a PDM visit to the bereaved Shisungo family on Friday.
The party donated some food to the family.
Ngaringombe said Namibia has been independent for 33 years, but is not taking care of its people in terms of providing in their basic needs.
“Namibians do not need a lot. Namibians need basic things like clean drinking water at home. Namibians need decent shelter, Namibians need a basic toilet, which families can use, and running water to take care of their hygiene.
“You don’t blame anyone for such devastation, but if there was food security in this household, this would not have happened,” he said.
Kayova village headman Herman Linyando agreed that the tragedy was caused by hunger.
He called on the government to help the inhabitants of the region to deal with the drought.
Ndiyona constituency councillor Laurentius Mukoya concurred with Linyando, saying the residents of his constituency are suffering due to drought, and people are exchanging “anything” for food.
Kavango East Regional Council spokesperson Winfried Nyambe says the government has not declared the drought an emergency yet.
The executive director in the Office of the Prime Minister, I-Ben Nashandi, over the weekend said the government has directed the regional government to ascertain the level of food security in the area.
“I am sure there are people who have survived this particular incident, and I am sure they have to live going forward, and the team has been instructed to go and give us an outcome. I’m sure by Tuesday we will get the outcome,” he said.
Nashandi said the government over the years has been doing annual assessments after harvesting, which will determine the availability of food, and where intervention is needed.