Omitara in a sorry state

With unemployment rife, the situation at Omitara is dire.

10 February 2019 | Local News

Lack of access to land, limited employment opportunities, drugs and alcohol abuse are all factors that contribute to high poverty and crime levels in the Omitara settlement, some 30 km north of Gobabis in the Omaheke Region.
This was said by the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) station commander at Omitara, warrant officer Cherina Mbomboro in an interview with Nampa, when the agency visited the settlement recently.
The most prominent crimes in the settlement, she explained, are stock theft (although not constant), illegal hunting and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (assault GBH).
“One would say this is mostly caused by unemployment. People go and steal so that they can get money to sustain themselves and their families,” Mbomboro said.
Unemployment in the settlement is estimated to be at 90 per cent.
Like in many other parts of the country, Omitara is also battling with lack of land, for both agricultural and business purposes. “There is actually no space for them to do (things like) gardening or keep livestock,” she added.
With over 40 illegal shebeens supplying non-stop alcohol to the about 2000 settlers, the rate at which alcoholic drinks are consumed, particularly among school-going children is worrisome, she said, which she attributed to lack of parenting and discipline.
Mbomboro said that to maintain law and order, the police there have to make do with one vehicle, a Toyota VVT-i bakkie with a canopy which is not a standardised police vehicle. “I don’t think it’s that safe, if you have to carry prisoners and so on.”
Another issue is the poor accommodation facilities for the 15 police officers. “It’s bad because of the obvious reason that men and women are sharing toilets and showers, which is not acceptable,” she said, adding that under normal circumstances, female and male police officers are not allowed to share the same barracks. – Nampa

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