Namibia
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45 malnutrition deaths in Omaheke alarming – Kavekotora

Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) parliamentarian Mike Kavekotora says recent media reports of 45 children dying of malnutrition in the Omaheke region are alarming and despicable.

Kavekotora said this after The Namibian this week reported that 45 children in the Omaheke region have died of malnutrition since January, while 132 cases of malnutrition have been recorded.

The parliamentarian on Friday said it is shocking and unimaginable that Namibians are dying of hunger and malnutrition.

“We must start probing why the majority of Namibians are swimming in poverty in a rich country,” Kavekotora said.

He said the government must provide Namibians with answers on how the country’s resources are managed, how wealth is distributed, and should indicate its priority areas if food security is not one.

“While Namibians are dying of hunger, some are calling for a constitutional ban on dog meat consumption,” he said.

He said people are dying of hunger while the government wants to spend N$111 million on acquiring condoms.

“Schoolchildren are being taught under trees without proper sanitation and textbooks, but ministers are more concerned about the non-availability of black liquidators,” Kavekotora said.

“Swapo is failing in the areas that matter to the ordinary Namibian,” he said.

Speaking on the same issue, Basilius Kasera, a religion, philosophy and applied ethics lecturer at the University of Namibia, in a media statement on Friday said malnutrition deaths is sad news and indicates the government’s cruelty.

“Those 45 children have died of malnutrition-related conditions, indicating the government’s failure to ensure basic human rights and to protect the most vulnerable of our society,” he said.

Kasera said this demonstrates the depth of socio-economic inequality and lack of prioritising the interests of the less privileged, particularly children.

“One potential answer to redress poverty and malnutrition is a universal basic income grant. This is not a political statement, but one proven to guarantee households the financial security to make objective choices,” he said.

He said child poverty cannot be solved through community soup kitchens.

“These deaths indicate a failure to provide far-reaching social protection. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Namibia is a signatory, says every child has the right to decent standards of living.”

Kasera said the government needs to implement policies and programmes that tackle poverty and malnutrition effectively.