The announcement by the Landless People’s Movement of providing scholarships to students in Karas and Hardap has invited mixed reactions from their rival political parties.
LPM’s Utaara Mootu announced the news of the scholarships on social media, with critics saying the move is tribalist, aimed at benefiting only those in the southern part of the country.
The two regional councils controlled LPM will provide 500-thousand dollars worth of scholarships to young people from the two regions.
The secretary general of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Manuel Ngaringombe says that the decision by Kharas and Hardap regional councils to provide N$500 000 worth of scholarships to young people in the two regions is normal practice.
Swapo Party’s regional coordinator for the Karas Region, Mathew Mumbala said the scholarships from the two regional councils is nothing new, as Swapo when its was in-charge of those councils did the same and as the governing majority party in government continues to do so through the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund.
In the party’s defense, Mootu said the money is to benefit the two regions because they supported LPM.
“Other regions have other parties controlling them, e.g Opuwo isPDM and Omusati is Swapo. Those councilors should do the same for their constituents – we cannot force them. Had people voted LPM in other regions – we would have had control of the councils and have the same initiatives,” Mootu said.
Ngaringombe elaborated that each regional council prioritises its people’s needs.
“In Kunene region, for example, drought is a priority. That is the pressing issue. Every local government should be ploughing back into the communities. To say Kunene Regional Council should give school bursaries because LPM did the same, may not be the region’s priority. Drought is a problem there. For example last year, the council (Kunene) built wells in different constituencies, because people’s challenges there is drought. I do not want to react to what LPM is doing, because priorities differ from region to region. What regional councils are doing should not even be politicized because that is their responsibility,” Ngaringombe said.
Swapo coordinator in Kharas, Mathew Mumbala said it is the Swapo Party government that provides scholarships and provides for the Namibian child through Namibian Student Financial Assistance Fund.
“Look at the level of development that has taken place in Keetmanshoop when the Swapo Party took over the leadership of the town and region in 2015. Swapo is not boasting about that because we are governing and ruling. You can’t try and compare the said scholarship of N$500 000, when the Swapo Party Government provides scholarship to everyone in this country up to PhD level. Do not forget that the Swapo Government still provides free education from pre primary to grade 12,” Mumbala remarked.
He said the Swapo government will learn nothing from them as they are just copying and pasting what Swapo has been doing.