By Eliaser Ndeyanale
BISHOP Shekutamba Vaino Nambala has warned that the unequal distribution of wealth will inevitably lead to higher crime rates and violence in the country.
“We wouldn’t have poor people (in the country), had we addressed the problem of inequality. We used to complain about the whites, now it’s us black people. We need to be conscious about others. Let’s ask ourselves if others are also benefiting the way we do,” Nambala said, while speaking on the sidelines of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Assembly, which took place in Windhoek from 10 to 16 May.
“We need an amicable solution to distribute the wealth of the nation, so that everyone can benefit from the national cake. There are people with many shares in many companies, while other people have nothing to survive on.”
Nambala who is also the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN), urged government to take drastic measures to fight poverty and cut “exorbitant salaries” in the civil service.
“We need to address that. I think the government also needs to reduce some people’s salaries… they are too exorbitant. This thing needs to be challenged.”
Nambala said that high rate of employment, crime, HIV infections and violence in the country is the result of the unequal distribution of resources.
“Crime is high, because people don’t have anything to eat. We are only dealing with the symptoms, but we are not addressing the problem,” said Nambala.
He also urged government to rollout more counselling centres, to address social problems in the country. He added that although his church already has counselling centres, it needed to work hand in hand with government.
Asked to what extent the church is assisting government to alleviate poverty and other social problems, Nambala said ELCIN has been lending a helping hand to many communities.
He said, for example, the church had assisted several communities in the Omusati and the two Kavango regions with water pipes and tanks, in order to ensure clean water for residents.
“We continue to monitor emergency situations, such as floods and drought. We are assisting the government where we can,” he said.
The Director of the ELCIN Diakonia and Social Services Department, Reverend Gerson Neliwa, said the church is assisting the government in rolling out malaria programmes, especially in the two Kavango regions, as well as Zambezi, Ohangwena, Oshana and Omusati, where a number of malaria cases had been reported earlier this year.
He said that the ELCIN malaria programme places a special focus on households, especially children under the age of five, and pregnant women within poor and vulnerable communities.
The church also runs another project, dealing with the disabled at Oniipa, in the Oshikoto region.
The veteran pastor said that the centre strives to strengthen and empower people with disabilities individually, as well as their family members, their community and through organisations.
This is in order to improve their living standards of the disabled, and integrate them into the community and the society as a whole, by doing community outreach.
Neliwa said further that the church also runs male engagement training on gender-based violence. He said the church plays a significant role in the shaping of norms and attitudes in society, with thousands of people attending church services weekly.
The training focuses on understanding violence in Namibia, the role social norms and privilege, as well as communication and conflict resolution.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015