Construction of major hydropower dam in Namibia in Kunene area, expected to kick off in 2017 will help to boost the country’s economy, Kunene Governor Angelika Muharukua has said.
Muharukua says she strongly believes that construction of Baynes – also called Orokawe hydropower – will uplift the living standards of the people in the region.
The governments of Angola and Namibia are planning to construct a hydropower plant and dam downstream of the Epupa Falls at Baynes along the Kunene River, 200 km downstream of the Ruacana in the Epupa Constituency.
Muharukua believes that the construction of the hydropower plant will be of great benefit to the entire country.
Despite this, there are still issues of concerns among residents that they were not properly consulted and made aware of the benefits of the dam and what their stake in it would be.
During an interview in September last year, chiefs who assembled for a ceremony in the area said that government wanted to “steal” from them with the construction of the hydropower.
“If we give away our land for the construction of the dam, where will we go?” asked Chief Maongo Hembinda of Orotjirindi. He maintained the construction of the hydropower station would only benefit government and not the inhabitants of the area, who are predominantly Ovahimba.
He also added that the people living in the area have graves of their loved ones and exhuming those graves would be grossly disrespectful to the dead.
He also added that views and opinion of the majority of the people living in the area on whether the construction of the dam should go on has not been considered. He said many people living in the area still do not have knowledge of the benefits of constructing the hydropower station.
Governor Muharukua however maintains that the most of the people in the area fully support the construction of the dam..