GOVT TO SPEND OVER P 5 MILLION TO HAND OVER P100. 000 WORTH POVERTY ERADICATION PROJECTS
Preparations for the Poverty Eradication Pitso which will be held in the North West District on the 1st to the 3rd of March have not gone without controversy.
The lavish ‘poverty eradication’ project slated for Chanoga village has nothing to do with poverty and everything to do with entertainment and possible political mileage for government top officials, a village elder has charged.
Although concerted efforts to establish from the office of the president the exact amount of money to be spent on the 3- day event drew a blank, the unamused Chanoga Village Development Committee Chairperson,Philemon Dicheleketo, has disclosed that a whopping 5 million pula was expected to be gobbled up in the an event organised to hand over projects worth a mere P100 000.
Some of the costs indicated included the erection of tents and gazebos, catering , provision of water and electrify to the site, transportation, erection of temporary ablution blocks, clearance of roads and overtime and out of station allowances of hundreds of government employees expected to attend as well as entertainment
Lambasting the project for not making sound economic sense, the concerned chairperson said: “Clearly this activity has nothing to do with poverty alleviation, let alone poverty eradication. They did not consult us on what we need in this village and now they are coming here in the name of poverty eradication for a fun filled outing at the expense of the tax payers. How can they spend more than P5 million to donate 100 000 worth of projects and expect us to believe that they want to eradicate poverty.. It does not make sense at all,” He fumed.
Six of the identified 1000 beneficiaries from the northwest district are from Chanoga. One of the six will be given a tuck shop,another one gets a house, two get tailor machines while the last two receive backyard gardens according to the VDC chair.
He further pointed out in an interview that instead of hosting an event with the trappings of a lavish camping party for dignitaries in luxurious tents, government should have considered providing the villagers whose houses were destroyed by a storm recently with decent accommodation.
“Instead of slashing trees randomly in the bush to set up a camp site government should have made roads right here in the village so that those same roads would benefit the village long after the event.” he said and went on to plead with government to leave temporary water stand pipes that will be erected for the event for villages to use afterwards.
They should at least not disconnect all the services that they have brought here for their own convenience because that would at least give us an opportunity to turn that spot into a camp site that could generate a bit of income for the community,” he suggested.
Meanwhile the event which has attracted President Ian Khama’s Namibian counterpart, President Hifikepunye Pohamba and United Nations representatives has already filled the sleepy village of Chanoga with government officials including a strong 100 people poverty eradication organising committee who are hard at work setting up camp.
Amongst those who have already arrived at Chanoga and were already earning their out of station allowance were the Department of Roads officials,Council officials and Tawana Land Board officials tasked with laying out of tents and roads.
When The Voice newspaper went to the location, more than 10 hectors of land was being cleared to pave way for the controversial camp site.
A map that was submitted to heads of departments has indicated that there will be a tent for 1000 beneficiaries, another tent for the media and another one for heads of ministries, VIPs and VVIPs.
The VVIP luxurious tent will be pitched in a no go zone area by the river bank where activities such as boat cruises and bonfires by night are expected to take place.