OKANGUATI - The idea of upgrading and tarring the Okanguati-Opuwo road in the Epupa constituency in the Kunene region has been received with mixed feelings.
Some residents say it is not necessary while others agree that it will ease the transportation.
The road is dilapidated and there is no primary remedy offered to make it easier for motorists to use it with ease, hence the office of the governor took the subject for discussion to the masses recently before the final decision is made following works and transport minister calls for upgrading.
The Opuwo-Okanguati-Epupa road has repeatedly experienced flash floods that not only damaged the road but cut off the community from essential services when it rains.
There are more than 10 river crossings on the road between Opuwo and Okanguati.
Fast flowing rivers often wash away cars.
Recently, deputy works minister Veiko Nekundi who took a trip to the area to assess the road situation, expressed concern over the absence of road markings at river crossings or guardrails for safety.
With all that said, the community members are still stuck on the same page with some suggesting that the government should first seek personal concerns from them before undertaking the project as they have the power to stop it.
Ngombe, a headman of Omuhongo village said the road passed through his village, hence permission should be obtained from him before the construction.
“That road is passing through my village. You need to seek permission before any construction. I have the power to stop it just like I stopped the extension of the Omuhonga Combined School when they wanted to extend the school. Even if the majority here are in support, you still have to come to me,” he said when he took the floor to air his views on the developmental project.
It is alleged that the school management the headman refers to, had approached him with the plan to extend the school to put a sports field and a boys’ hostel block but Ngombe refused, citing that the area the school want to utilise is meant for grazing. That project is now at a standstill.
Another community member, who opposed the development, urged the government to explain the importance of a tarred road to the community members before they embark on it.
But Mahiti Tjingee, the Epupa headman has different views, saying the government must continue to upgrade the road as it is part of development in the area.
“Once the road is tarred, it will be easier to bring services into the area. The road is bad and needs to be upgraded. Let the government speed up the process,” he said.
The constituency councillor Tjimutambo Kuuoko who was present at the community meeting organised by the governor’s office, reiterated that most of the Epupa residents are not in agreement with the project.
Another issue discussed during the same meeting was the construction of a hydroelectric dam at Epupa, which some residents said will negatively affect the marginalised community.