OPUWO: Communities in the Opuwo, Sesfontein and Epupa constituencies are worried that they are being deprived of vital information and news, as a result of the NBC [Namibian Broadcasting Corporation] strike.
The strike at the NBC, over salary increases, has been going on for the past seven days, casting a heavy burden on people of these constituencies who rely heavily on the public broadcaster’s radio services for news and information about activities happening nationally and internationally.
There are no community radios or private radio/television services aired in the three constituencies of Epupa, Opuwo and Sesfontein, and One Africa Television signals cannot be picked up in these constituencies either.
Senior Traditional Councillor of the Vita Royal House in the Kunene Region, Mika Muhenje told Nampa on Tuesday that it was about time that private radio stations expanded to the Kunene Region.
He made specific reference to radio stations like Kudu FM, Omulunga Radio, Radio Energy, Fresh FM and others that are providing radio services in the capital.
“Only a handful of people here can read the newspapers while the majority rely on NBC radio and NBC TV for information,” said Muhenje.
Okanguati resident Frans Kataraju told Nampa that people in the whole region are not aware of what is happening around them because of the NBC strike.
“We are totally in the dark here in the Kunene Region,” said.
He added that people here also depend on the radio for announcements about programmes of the government that are meant to benefit rural communities, but now they are totally in the dark.
“Pensioners are not sure of when or where they have to go to receive their monthly payouts, as this is done only through NBC radio services. This is really bad,” said Kataraju.
The Namibian Police Force (NamPol) Regional Commander for the Kunene Region, Commissioner Mandume Shifonono said the NBC situation has become a bit too much for the nation.
Shifonono said information flow is crucial, and a quick solution must be found to this problem.
NBC employees have been on strike since Wednesday last week, demanding salary increments and increased housing benefits.
Meanwhile, some local newspapers reported on Wednesday that Cabinet has given a directive for the release of N.dollars 8.9 million to meet the employees’ demands. It is, however, not yet clear when normal service will resume at the NBC.