Beneficiaries and members of Farm Okukuna, a community garden project in the Goreangab Dam area, are accusing the City of Windhoek of mismanagement since they took over the project.

Established in May 2018, Farm Okukuna was a community-led project, producing vegetables and other alternative forms of farming to feed themselves and other communities in Windhoek. 

The group says the trouble started soon after the project received funding from the UNDP and the Embassy of Japan, after which they claim that the founding members and beneficiaries were mistreated in an effort to push them out. 

Nestor Andjamba, a board member of Farm Okukuna, said that now, training courses initially meant for their members are being offered to outsiders. 

"There were two posts to employ the farm manager and assistant manager, but the municipality failed to inform Farm Okukuna beneficiaries about the vacancies for them to apply. The new manager and assistant manager have been employed by the municipality. The two people employed as manager and assistant are believed to be related to James Kalundu and Secilia Maruta from the Social and Youth Development Division. These individuals are mistreating members of the farm, especially since the manager was seen illegally harvesting members' sugar canes and spinach from beneficiary plots without permission."

They also alleged irregularities in the awarding of tenders at the farm, being kept in the dark on important decisions and the unbearable attitude of the newly appointed manager. 

"He has obtained the keys to beneficiaries' greenhouses so that whenever they leave the farm, he enters the beneficiary's greenhouse and harvests their products without permission. The manager currently owns three plots and one greenhouse at the farm and sometimes wants to own some portions of the beneficiary's greenhouses. He is also breeding chickens on the farm, but we have not been informed about who is benefiting from the program. He is employed by the municipality, but still, he wants to benefit from Farm Okukuna's programs, which he is supposed not to. Why is he benefiting from vulnerable people's programs? He also closes the farm gate all the time, and it restricts customers who used to buy products from entering the farm."

The group handed over their petition to the city's spokesperson, Harold Akwenye, and expects a response by the end of this month. 

"I've heard of the allegations in the petition and the council will make sure that an investigation will be conducted and an outcome will be communicated to you in due course."

Photo Credits
City of Windhoek


Frances Shaahama