Don’t politicize the drought relief programme: Nandi-Ndaitwah

WINDHOEK: Namibia’s Vice President, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, on Wednesday urged leaders of her ruling Swapo Party to refrain from politicising the government’s food aid programme in light of the impending drought.

Addressing the party’s workshop for delegates from 121 districts, in preparation for the 2024 Presidential and National Assembly elections set for November, Nandi-Ndaitwah cautioned them not to discriminate against non-Swapo members when it comes to providing drought relief.

‘Therefore, as leaders, you are expected to know the needs of your communities irrespective of their political affiliations. We need all Namibians to survive, and that’s why as your vice president, I am saying we should not politicise the drought relief programme.

It is for all of us because as the elected party in this government, we are to take care of all Namibians wherever they are, and you cannot deny people food,’ said Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also Swapo’s vice president.

Namibia and other countries in southern Africa are
currently experiencing a severe drought caused by a significant decrease in rainfall in the region.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform estimates a poor harvest in all crop-producing regions in the communal areas. In its crop prospects, food security, and drought situation report for March 2024, the ministry noted weakening household food security in the seven northern regions.

This is due to reduced agricultural production recorded in the 2022/2023 season. The ministry noted that many households in the main crop-producing regions are reported to have used up their food reserves from the previous season. As a result, they are now relying on the market and drought relief food for their sustenance.

Additionally, the food security situation in southern, eastern, western, and central Namibia is also dire due to the prevailing drought conditions.

These areas are predominantly inhabited by livestock farmers who depend on livestock farming as their main source of income.

However, the pasture in
these regions is insufficient and of poor quality, making it difficult to adequately sustain their livestock, the report indicated.

Nandi-Ndaitwah informed the party’s district coordinators and district mobilizers that government has therefore put in place measures to ensure that all Namibians in need of food assistance are catered for.

However, she appealed to those in a position to assist themselves not to take advantage of the food relief program. ‘That’s why we say those with an income, please meet your government halfway by taking care of yourself and let the government take care of the others,’ she said.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency