The Governor of Khomas Region, Laura McLeod-Katjirua, on Friday cautioned newly elected regional councillors to refrain from any election hangover and urged them to face their responsibility as community servants with
confidence and diligence and to serve to the best of their abilities.
She gave the advice during the swearing-in ceremony on Friday of newly elected councillors of the Khomas Regional Council. The November regional council election saw the ruling Swapo Party take over all ten Khomas regional constituencies including Windhoek East, which before the election was a stronghold of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).
“Let me echo the call of our secretary general comrade Nangolo Mbumba and remind you to serve the residents of Khomas Region with no exception, discrimination or favour. Make yourselves available to them at all times and serve them with humility and pride,” she noted.
The sworn-in Swapo councillors include Rachel Jacob for John Pandeni Constituency. She was also elected as chairperson of the Khomas management committee. Other councillors are Fanuel Shivute (Samora Machel), Martin David (Moses Garoëb), Margaret Mensah-Williams (Khomasdal), Joyce Nangula Namuhuja (Windhoek East), George Trepper (Windhoek West), Penina Inga Ita (Windhoek Rural), Ruben Sheehama (Katutura East), Ambrosius Kandjii (Katutura Central) and Christopher Likuwa (Tobias Hainyeko). Mensah-Williams has also been re-elected to serve in the National Council together with Namuhuja. McLeod-Katjirua urged the councillors to stay connected to the Swapo election manifesto to ensure its active and practical implementation “to the letter and spirit to fulfil the contract with the electorate”.
“We must put our personal interest aside and make the electorate’s priorities central in our operations. We must make Khomas Region a shining star for other regions, it being the regional hub and nation’s capital. The only ingredients to achieve this is through hard work, commitment and dedication and to be completely service-delivery oriented,” she urged, adding that they should go beyond simply delivering services and develop strong bonds with the communities.
The governor further encouraged councillors to be accountable and responsible for their constituencies and not give lip service to the electorate and chase them away from their offices to someone else.
They should solve people’s complaints and problems as registered at their offices, she said.
“Never wish them away, it is not a solution as being there they are not lost. We must refrain from keeping our electorate hostage by just sitting around or unnecessarily prolonging our internal process of attending to their complaints or problems. Through this we will continue winning the trust of our people,” she encouraged.
McLeod-Katjirua also cautioned councillors to refrain from absenting themselves from national activities with excuses of receiving invitations late. According to her, it is very embarrassing to arrive at important regional and national activities and there is no single regional and local councillor present.
“I am not generalising, but direct it to those who make themselves guilty of this bad habit. We must from now on refrain from holding regional city council meetings separate from community meetings and have joint community meetings to consult and inform our communities on development issues in our respective areas of jurisdiction,” said the Khomas regional governor.
Further, she said, elected leaders should aggressively and collectively respond to the challenges of gender-based violence, barbaric murdering of women and innocent children in the riverbeds, drug and alcohol abuse and the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
She also said councillors should adhere to President Hage Geingob’s call on the war against poverty and unequal wealth redistribution for the next five years to remove the socio-economic imbalances and restore the dignity of people impacted by poverty.
“We must critically look at the pace of the formalisation of our informal settlements in terms of access to our people. We must face the challenges of unemployment head on by improving our small and medium enterprise (SME) support, micro-finance projects and construction of sufficient SME incubation centres,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa, warned newly elected councillors against discrimination and that they rather observe the status of one Namibia, one nation by serving communities prudently without looking at colour and class.
“Micro-finance projects should be given to all and equally in all constituencies. Let us not go around and do things that are not in the given budget. Stay within your budget limit. Land and housing are pressing needs. Let us reach out as a team and see how we can provide to the Khomas Region,” she noted.