Marginalised Wayawaya community languishing in poverty

Martin Endjala

Marginalised communities in Wayawaya, Sibinda Constituency in the Zambezi region say they are being discriminated against as most of them are denied employment opportunities and the majority lack national identification documents.

This was disclosed during a recent oversight visit to the Zambezi region by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, which began consultative engagements with stakeholders on government programmes and initiatives for marginalised communities yesterday.

According to Wayawaya community Headman, Jim Ben the lack of identity documents and exclusion from any tribal affiliation makes them ineligible to receive food distributions, while others only receive food based on the number of documented people in their houses without taking into account the number of occupants in that particular family.

“Food meant for us is kept, and we don’t get it until it’s almost spoiled, causing us to get sick,” Ben bemoaned.

The Headman also informed the Committee that they only receive food every three months, which is insufficient.

The community emphasised their limited access to quality education as a result of their poverty background, claiming that they cannot afford items such as paper rims, which are frequently requested to be brought to school, a situation that sometimes forces children to drop out of school because they do not fit in with their peers.

The community is also begging for help in reviving a brick production project that was started in 2019 but is no longer functioning due to water constraint and other issues.

Sean Liswaniso, a member of the community, told the committee that he was pursuing post-secondary education at the University of International Management but had to quit because he couldn’t keep up with tuition payments and other obligations.

“I dropped out of tertiary education because I am poor, accommodation and transportation were too expensive for me, and I was starving,” Liswaniso explained.

Several attempts to reach Zambezi Regional Council Chairperson Warden Shimushi proved fruitless as his phone was turned off before going to print.

The Committee will continue its oversight visits to marginalised communities in the Zambezi, Kavango East, and West regions with various communities and relevant stakeholders before compiling a full report to be submitted to Parliament on a date to be determined.

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