Caprivi Lacks Competent Leaders

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Facts on Caprivi Regional Governor Issue:

After reading the article that appeared in The Namibian of Friday December 21 on the above I thought to share the following with readers.

In February this year an article written by myself was published in the New Era newspaper whereby I expressed my dissatisfaction with the lack of development in the Caprivi Region emanating from the poor unsatisfactory work performance by the regional governor, Mr Bernard Sibalatani.

Convincingly, I had a strong matured point which I will repeat in this article.

Caprivi Region would be today developed if it had competent leaders both in its remote and rural areas but this is just not happening. Seventeen years down the line, Caprivi Region looks exactly like it was during the time of the Boers.

What is really worrying me is that the people entrusted to develop the region in the name of Mr Mwilima, Sibalatani and company are all hailing from that region but failing to produce.

Imagine how could a person entrusted to serve the nation after taking an oath still be talking about tribal tension instead of concentrating on developing the region of his constituency?

I nearly collapsed after watching the ten o’clock news reporting the Mwilima /Sibalatani episode. Of interest in this case were Mwilima`s words in his acceptance speech after he was sworn in by the Regional Presiding Officer, Ms Sakala.

He highlighted the issue of developing the region and taking over the Katima Mulilo waterfront project that is already in its infancy stage initiated by his predecessor Bernard Sibalatani.

This clearly shows you that the young man is visionless and lacks planning skills. I would have loved to hear Mwilima talking about tarring the gravel roads in town, fighting unemployment and poverty, improving the quality of education for the Zambezi Vocational Training Centre, the Caprivi College of Education, renovating government buildings such as schools, houses, clinics, etc.

Mwilima is the councillor charged to develop Katima rural constituency under the powers vested in him by the Local Authority Act and the government of the day, which he failed to exercise beyond reasonable doubt.

He failed even simply to erect a single borehole yet he is dreaming of developing the region. He failed to build a single clinic or school, he failed even to visit his people and listen to their concerns since he was voted into power by those people.

My question and concern is who will rescue the inhabitants of Katima Mulilo or Caprivi Region since Mwilima and Sibalatani are not competent at all.

On the contrary Mr Sibalatani was in that post since 1999 up to the recent saga. From 1999 up to date what development did he bring to the Caprivi, nothing at all. The roads are in bad condition, the state of government houses and building is permanently deteriorating.

The roads are not tarred. Even his official government house is in a poor condition, the street in which he lives in is not tarred, drought relief food is getting rotten in the government warehouse while people are starving, the unemployment rate is high, and people are dying from curable diseases such as malaria, the list is endless.

I do not have any personal vendetta against these two councillors but what I mean in essence is that none of the two is competent to bring development in the Caprivi and improve the lives of its inhabitants. I am hailing from that region and currently a resident of Karas Region. I used to feel bad for my people staying there when visiting home and factually if people like Mr Peter Mwala were Regional Governor then Caprivi could be developed by today.

This is not because I and Mr Mwala are from one area but let us call a spade a spade like what the founding father Dr Sam Nujoma used to say – I really like to use this word too.

It is unfortunate that naturally and geographically Kabbe constituency is located in bad areas that are yearly flooded with water which makes it impossible for Mr Mwala to bring the infrastructure to standard hence this would be destroyed by the water, but after all Mr Mwala`s performance as demonstrated by his actions is appreciated by the residents of the Kabbe constituency overally as measured against his counterparts.

The Trans-Caprivi Highway connecting Namibia with Botswana through Ngoma is a classic example. The gravel road from Bukalo connecting Kabbe, Lusese, Ngoma, Izimwe areas up to the place where the flood used to stop are also visible achievable examples.

Bukalo itself is promising from the look of the things, and come 2010 it will be another town as soon as Mr Mwala is alive.

People from the areas covered with flooded with water are quickly rescued with the assistance from the office of the Prime Minister. Tents are erected to accommodate the affected people as well as temporary classrooms for school children from those areas.

Drought relief food is supplied to them. After the flood these people are taken back to their respected areas. He is visiting his constituency to listen to the people’s pleadings. This is what a councillor must do for his people who have elected him/her to power which people from Katima rural and urban are deprived of as a result of zero performance by Messrs Mwilima and Sibalatani.

Katima Mulilo rural and urban under Mwilima and Sibalatani are dry areas that are suitable for good infrastructure and the answers are opposite as compared to Mr Mwala.

To the people whom the two councillors serve it is a pity that you are deprived of your rights by the two comrades, who are only interested in their fat cheques from the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development.

At the same time it is also worrisome regarding what The Namibian newspaper has reported on tribalism. We were not there when the councillors were electing the new Governor to substantiate that Sibalatani was ousted due to tribal tensions.

My advice to Brigitte Weidlich (the Namibian reporter) and your sources is that you have to be careful in your reporting as issues such as tribalism destroy peace. Yes, I am not disputing the fact that we the people from the Caprivi were previously divided on tribal lines but what I can assure you is that this is now something of the past.

Mr Sibalatani`s failure to bring development to the region has cost him to pay the price. I therefore found the tribalism grounds as baseless and void of the truth.

In addition, I personally disagree with those party insiders that have ruled in tribalism specific on the Masubia and Mafwe, seriously alleging that the Mafwe people are marginalized and treated as third class citizens as they are still suspected as being secessionists. Why should one worry when he knows he is not a secessionist. There is no evidence to prove this because if one labels me a secessionist I would definitely resort to legally seeking redress criminally and civilly.

A comrade that threatens to challenge his political party publicly is a fake comrade.

I would request them to adhere to their party constitution, their code of conduct and ethics and Local Authority Act. All tribal ethnic groups in Caprivi are equal and there is no inferior and superior perception as this is generally viewed as a guilty conscience.

In essence none of the two, that’s Mr Mwilima or Sibalatani, is capable of taking the yoke and ranks of administering the Caprivi Region, its inhabitants and bringing change and development to sustain and improve their lives.
Let justice take its course in this case for the betterment of the inhabitants of the Caprivi Region and Namibia at large and not incompetent individuals.
Happy 2008 ahead to all.

George Matali
Karas Region

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