Kamwi lashes tobacco plans

March 10, 2015, 7:53am

Kamwi lashes tobacco plans

Health Minister Richard Kamwi says the proposed sale of 10 000 hectares of forestland to a Chinese company to establish a tobacco and maize plantation in Katima Mulilo does not enjoy the support of the health sector.
Speaking yesterday during the official inauguration of the Onamutayi Clinic, Kamwi labelled those who are pushing for the N$1 billion Chinese tobacco project as “money hungry, as it does not serve the interest of the people.
“The tobacco industry is not in the best interest of the Namibian people. It is detrimental for us. It was for this exact reason that we enacted a new Tobacco Act which prohibits smoking in public places. Now the Chinese are coming with plans for a tobacco plantation. If it is true, it is nonsense, said an irate Kamwi. Zambezi Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu at the weekend confirmed that the project was given the go ahead as it would allegedly “help the region fight unemployment and poverty.

“It is not supported by the health sector. Kamwi said.
“While other countries are reducing on tobacco, Namibia seems to be doing the opposite by coming up with a tobacco plantation.
Kamwi further explained that tobacco smoke is a leading cause of lung and oesophagus cancer and that ministry officials are busy in the regions educating the nation against cigarettes, as per the new law and its regulations.
“They can go ahead with their plans, but I have made my voice heard while I’m still the minister of health and social services.
“Those people who are doing it are doing it for the money and not for the interest of the people, said
Kamwi.
Suspended Swapo youth politician Job Amupanda is planning to serve government with an official objection letter expressing his displeasure over plans to sell off land to the
Chinese.
The company responsible for the environment impact assessment, Geo Pollution Technologies, warned that the project may create a gateway for wildlife poachers, such as those who illegally hunt elephants.
The study, which was completed in January last year, has been submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The Onamutayi Clinic, which will serve a population of 7 000, was constructed at a cost of over N$5 million.
Kamwi said the Oshana Region is training 98 health extension workers, who will complete their training by the end of March.
These health workers will be deployed into villages in Oshana, including Onamutayi, for the purpose of promoting health and disease
prevention.

Namibian Sun