Cultural village at centre of controversy in Okombahe

01 Feb 2018 17:30pm
SWAKOPMUND, 01 FEB (NAMPA) - Some members of the Okombahe community in the Erongo Region are at loggerheads with the traditional authority over the utilisation of the cultural N.dollars 3.4 million village sponsored by the Namibian-German Special Initiative Programme.
The village is aimed at hosting cultural festivals and other income generation activities such tourism and camping.
Speaking on behalf of the community on Thursday, Apius Auchab, who is also the President of the United Democratic Front, said the centre has been idle since its inauguration in 2016.
He said so far, there have not been any activities which benefited the community and accuses the !Oe-#Gan Traditional Authority of running the centre as it belongs to them only.
“They were supposed to open up the centre to the community and allow us to utilise it instead of keeping it closed,” he said.
In response, senior councillor in the !Oe-#Gan authority, Edward Paul Rheis, on Thursday said the community did not approach them with any initiatives that they want to use the centre for.
“The centre is open to everyone but nobody ever asked permission to use it,” he said.
Rheis said they have been accommodating the !Oe-#Gan Chief Immanuel /Gaseb at the centre when he comes to Okombahe from his home in Windhoek.
Regarding tourism activities, Rheis said the centre is not yet registered with the Namibia Tourism Board and is unable to run that business.
Rheis also warned members of the UDF who allegedly hold political meetings on the land belonging to the traditional authority to refrain from doing so.
The land he refer to is next to the cultural village.
“They sit there and hold meetings on our land without getting our permission,” said the senior traditional leader.
Auchab denied that his people hold meetings on the land, saying “we will not set foot on that land because of our political and cultural differences with the traditional leaders.”