SORAs, placation of rural neglect, underdevelopment, retrogression

Recently, governors, as it has become fashionable and traditional, been delivering State of the Nation Addresses (SORAs).

Listening to most of them, one cannot only wonder but also conclude that they may be no more than pure public relations exercises. Because as good sounding as most of them have been to a loyal ear, few seem to relay any substantive and/or developments with real and significant impact in the different regions of the country.

Yours Truly Ideologically simply is not impressed with and about would be impact of the seeming developmental initiatives, which in essence are non-impact handouts sugarcoated by the SORAs which are no more than placation of development where there have been little developments with real impact in terms of radically transforming our rural backyards socio-economically from the economic doldrums that they are currently.

Yours Truly Ideologically may not speak for all the constituencies and regions granted that there may be real substantial development in some of our remote areas. But it looks like a more than a cursory glance at any rural setting, and a deep and informed assessment is necessary before one can discern any substantial and meaningful development in most if not all of our remote areas. Because despite official claims of rural development, driven or supposed to be driven by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, such developments are not obvious to the naked eye.

Perhaps an intrigue of development. But granted that development is and may not be so obvious, same it can and should not be superficial, let alone hidden. In the least it must improves the lifes of the would-be beneficiaries and in an way that is obvious for all to see. Or in a way that is measurable scientifically at best.

But alas perhaps Yours Truly Ideologically is blind or does not know what development is, may be or supposed to be. Especially in the Epukiro Constituency as distant as he may seem from development on the ground there.
Perusing the recent SORA of the Omaheke Region, and applying the yardstick of development in the Epukiro Constituency from which Yours Truly Ideologically have some affinity, Yours Truly Ideologically could not discern what even the most lenient of development observers could term or see as real substantive development. Other than efforts at mitigating abject poverty and squalor, so glaring in the Epukiro Constituency.

Destitute and hopelessness is written all over the faces of many of the inhabitants of this constituency, and every edifice, business, social, cultural, you name them, reflect little other than neglect and underdevelopment. “Omaheke region, the cattle region continues to be the champion in beef production with emphasis on breeds that capitalize on maximum output, hence the desirable breeds for the beef market,” reads an excerpt from the Governor’s 2021 SORA delivered recently.

It is a known fact that the beef market with exports to the European, and now even the USA markets, is a lucrative one. But is the Epukiro Constituency not part of the Omaheke region which is the champion of beef production, and by extension would expect to be sharing in the lucrativeness of the beef market. That ultimately must impact and propel the development of the constituency and better prosperity, welfare and wellbeing of its inhabitants?

But strangely the economic impact on the development of the Epukiro Constituency has not been visible without even speaking to its significance or non-signifisance in terms of impact. Surely something must be amiss.
But blame cannot be sole squarely be put on the authorities or government as much as the rural development policy of the government, if any is existing, leaves much to be desired in terms of implementation.

But back to the SORA, Yours Truly Ideologically could not discern, let alone decipher from the Governor’s SORA as far as the Epukiro Constituency is concerned, anything resembling in his lay understanding, substantial development. This is despite the fact that election after election the inhabitants have been called upon to rally behind and vote the Swapo Party of Namibia. The inhabitants have not disappointed in this regard for a good 17 years since Epukiro became a separate constituency from the Otjinene Constituency in 2004.

But can the same ever be said of any Swapo Epukiro Constituency Councilor, or the Omaheke Region at large, ever delivering development to and in Epukiro? Certainly the evidence on the ground does not testify to that. As much as there is little trace in the SORA of indicators of substantial development other than the usual pockets of handouts all meant to placate any misgivings about development in the constituency.

There is mention in the SORA as far the Epukiro Constituency is concerned, for instance of N$204,000 divided among the two constituencies of Epukiro and Otjombinde to support crop and livestock farmers with equipment. Surely one cannot dismiss such injection as of no consequence for a heavily development starve constituency. But it can only have impact if every year such an injection is repeated, even incrementally. It seems this scenario does not only pertain to Epukiro but to other constituencies in the region.

Simply put whatever little or meagre resources are available, are thinly spread to be of any significant impact and by the time such resources may again be available after years, the good of the first allocation may already have been undone. This is a vicious circle and an illusion at development making SORAs no more than mere public relations exercises. Especially given the apparent disjoint, dysfunctionality, competition and lack of synergy and synchronisation between governors and regional councils.

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