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The ministry of local government and rural development has rejected a motion passed by the Okavango District Council in April this year requesting for the district’s headquarters to be relocated from Gumare to Shakawe.
The motion was tabled by Councilor for Shakawe East, Lesedi Boy who was of the view that Shakawe was central to the Eastern and Western Okavango, therefore it will make it easy for people to have access to services. Eleven councilors voted for the motion while seven opposed it.
Among those who voted for the motion was Councilor for Shakawe West/Mohembo, Matsaudi Matsaudi, who was of the view that Shakawe should be considered as the district’s headquarters as it has a population of about 50 000 surpassing Gumare’s 23 000.
Presenting the ministry’s response during ODC full council session on Tuesday the council’s acting Deputy Council Secretary Losika Kula indicated that relocating the district is an intensive and high capital project which requires resources that the ministry does not have.
The ministry has further emphasised that the relocation is not an economically feasible project for the government to undertake hence the motion was rejected.
“The district is informed that Gumare is gazzeted as the headquarters of newly established ODC. It was established as per a Presidential Directive CAB 22 (A) 22, regarding the restructuring of sub-district councils,” Kula shared the response to the ODC councilors.
In the response the ministry also stressed that the establishment of the district was done following intensive consultative meetings including the Okavango community.
Commenting on the response, Xaixai/Qangwa councilor Lelejwang Sokwe noted that though their motion was rejected they should now focus on possible ways to ensure that services are equally distributed across the district regardless of the distance.
“Seeking for Shakawe to be headquarters for the district was not a bad motion, it is something we agreed on as council and I believe since it has failed we can work on developing our district and come up with a way we can take services to Shakawe,” Sokwe appealed.
For his part, Councillor Boipuso Magurunga of Seronga/Gunotosoga who was also disappointed by the ministry’s response is of the view that in the long run there will be need for a sub-district in Okavango which he anticipates will be placed in Shakawe. He has however also accepted the response that Gumare has been declared as the headquarters of the district.