As the nation gears itself for the imminent Population and Housing Census exercise, Otjozondjupa Governor James Uerikua has voiced concern over private farm owners that act as "mini republics" and deny officials access to the workers employed on their premises.

Uerikua made this remark during a courtesy visit by the nbc's Chief of News and Programming, Menesia Muinjo, and various heads of department as well as staff members to his office recently.

"Workers on some farms do not even have access to radio services, limiting their ability to learn about their labour-related rights. They have rights to access such information, but people have created mini-republics within a republic, where farms are privatised to the extent that whatever happens on that farm, no person whatsoever has a say, but in the end, the government is for everyone, by the people, for the people. So how best will you, as nbc, MICT, and, of course, going forward, look into this issue at the top level? How can we debunk such an issue? How can we deal with it?"

Uerikua also cast a spotlight on the abuse of local farm workers and labourers, who have limited access to human rights information.

"I would want to see your cameras going into some of these areas, meeting charcoal workers, meeting game farming workers, understanding their working conditions, and what they go through. That is why you hear that somebody at this farm was shot, and he was actually mistaken for a monkey or baboon, and all these things, and someone's arm got lost when working in the garden, and because they don't know their human rights, they live with that, and you are being told that if you report this issue, you will lose your job because they don't know where else to go."

On her part, Muinjo said the regional visit was aimed at creating linkages with stakeholders and introducing new programmes.

"We have recently also introduced some programming, especially on TV but also on radio, but because we are so busy, we may not have time to watch, and most of the time we are focused on the 20:00 main bulletin, but at nbc we are now saying it's Prime all the time. There are programmes like the Daily News Roundup, that is hosted by Nina Katangana, Monday to Thursday, 18:00; it's becoming an interesting show also there, and we are also going to introduce the slot from 06:00 to 9:00; we have got Good Morning Namibia, but from 9:00 to 13:00 there, the colleagues will also talk about that."



Faith Sankwasa