ONGWEDIVA – The dawn has come to put an end to dependency on hand outs and work on developing Kunene Region for the benefit of its inhabitants, promised Kunene Region’s Governor, Marius Sheya. The focus of his leadership, he says, is on a transformative agenda that is geared towards addressing development and social challenges affecting the region.
Sheya said this on Friday during his first State of the Region Address (SORA) since his appointment by President Hage Geingob late last year.
He said moving forward as of June 1, Kunene commonly known as the most underdeveloped and poorest region in the country, will move, step by step, shoulder to shoulder, collectively and they mean and promise progressive movement.
“We will do better, no more being beggars with lots of water but not food production, no more tourism activities happening in the region without impacting the ordinary man and communities of this region,” said Sheya.
According to him “There will be no more delayed implementation of projects, we will not be a region with untapped resources or potential, no more jealousy and limitations among ourselves to a point of effecting the greater community, no more child marriages, no more hiding behind bad traditional or cultural practices.”
“We say no more to old habits, we are going to change,” said the youngest governor.
To kick start the transformative agenda, the region has established a Governors Regional Development Committee which will monitor, evaluate and oversee that all developmental projects are implemented and to ensure that no money is returned to treasury.
It would ensure that projects are not left uncompleted while contractors are paid at the expense of the people on Kunene.
The committee, which will meet every two months, will start accounting for the N$273 million allocated to the region during the 2018/2019 financial year.
“No country can attain its full development unless it draws from all citizens’ talent, hence now we shall build capacity and fully maximise the potential of the region,” he said.
His said this committee will consist of him as chairperson, all regional councillors, all town mayors, all town CEOs, all head of ministries and government agencies in the region.
Equally, the region has also secured N$130 million from the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia to address the vulnerability of farmers from prolonged drought through floodwater harvesting and other climate change factors.
The region has during the recent years faced severe drought including a massive loss of heads of cattle estimated to be about 65 000 at the end of 2016.
In addition, the regional governor’s office also has plans to advance the youth by creating project opportunities that will impact their lives.
The youth advancement initiative will commence with a youth seminar slated for August at Okanguati in the Epupa Constituency.
The unemployment rate in Kunene, according to the 2016 Labour Force Survey was the highest in the country at 52.2 percent. Sheya said while the region is a tourist hub, he has been informed that conservancies property and money is misappropriate at the expense of the conservancy members.
He said the ordinary community also do not benefit from the tourism potential in the region, hence the region will engage stakeholders in the tourism sector in order to improve the lives of ordinary people in the region and to subsequently boost the region’s economy. In addition, the region also plans to host an Invest in Kunene Conference slated for September.
The conference seeks to attract investment to bankable project identified in the region.
Also, the region will launch “Harambee Oyetu” loosely translated as ‘Harambee is ours’ campaign over the next two years in order to maximise efforts towards a zero-hunger Kunene and to create the much-needed jobs.
The campaign which is under the governor’s office will involve community gardening.