ReconNamibia, a subsidiary of the Canadian-based oil and gas company, ReconAfrica held a briefing session yesterday (30 May 2022) with Members of Parliament to expound on their oil and gas exploration expedition in the Kavango regions. The purpose of the meeting was to an information sharing briefing on the status of oil discovery in Namibia as well as to address and put to rest some of the speculations that have been making the rounds with respect to their exploration operations.
Prior to this engagement, Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Lukas Muha met with representatives of ReconNamibia where they had discussions pertaining to their business in the two Kavango Regions. It was during these discussions that the follow up meeting took place, attended by Members of Parliament in the National Council. The opportunity accorded the MPs an opportunity to engage the representatives of ReconNamibia, and for them to gain a better understanding of the oil and gas exploration currently underway.
At the meeting, Chairperson of the National Council, Hon. Lukas Muha said that a meeting with National Council MPs is a meeting with all 14 regions because every region is well represented at national level, stating that “once you receive support from the National Council, then you have received support from all 14 regions”. Hon. Muha noted that an oil and gas discovery in the Kavango regions must benefit not only the two regions, but the whole country. The Chairperson also implored on all MPs present to share the information further with their constituents so as to trickle down the flow of information and address all misinformation pertaining to the project. This, the chairperson said, was because MPs are custodians of information in their respective localities.
Hon. Johannes Karondo of the Kapako Constituency in the Kavango West region, where parts of the exploration is taking place, implored on ReconAfrica to conduct joint consultative meetings between the community, political and traditional leaders in order for issues to be addressed simultaneously, thereby reducing hostility. Adding to the discussion, Hon. Peter Kazongominja cautioned that the company must be strategic about alleviating poverty in the two Kavangos by ensuring that a majority of their staff are employed from among the locals.
ReconNamibia Liaison for Government and Civil Society Organizations, Hilda Namundjebo assured MPs that oil discovery will not only change the Kavango regions, but the whole of Namibia. Namundjebo further noted that ReconNamibia is working to leave the least minimal damage to the environment, so that the natural habitat may be fully rehabilitated even after the company closes shop. She further called on Namibians, particularly from the two regions, to partner up with the oil and gas company while there is still time to do so in order for them to benefit largely once operations commence.
In concluding the meeting, the Chairperson urged Chairpersons of Standing Committees to visit the exploration sites when in the area to familiarise themselves with the operations and to confirm whether what was shared in the meeting is indeed what is on the ground.