Katima Mulilo mayor to promote green energy initiatives

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Katima Mulilo mayor to promote green energy initiatives

New Era senior reporter, Albertina Nakale engaged the newly elected mayor of Katima Mulilo, John Ntemwa (JN) on some of his strategic plans for the town during his tenure. Ntemwa, a Swapo councillor was elected as the new mayor of Katima Mulilo Town Council last December via secret ballot after a tie in nomination with former mayor, Lister Shamalaza. 


NE: How do you plan to run the town of Katima Mulilo in terms of service delivery?

JN: I remain committed to promoting green energy initiatives, such as solar power projects, and investing in sustainable infrastructure to improve residents’ quality of life while reducing our environmental footprint. My office has already engaged several investors in solar power to power our streets with solar lights; these initiatives are aimed at powering the town in phases as funds allow, starting with the B8 Road from Chinchimani Road Block until Cowboy, Nova location, Daily, Katima Mulilo Border Post to Mission compound. 


NE: What are some of your commitments to sustainable practices such as green energy initiatives and improving overall quality of life of residents of the town through well planned infrastructure projects?

JN: As the mayor and principal head of council, my duties as enshrined in terms of Section 11(5) of the Local Authority Act (Act 23 of 1992) as amended, require my office to prioritise efficient service delivery by implementing streamlined processes, investing in infrastructure upgrades, and ensuring accountability within the town council. This mandate is further enshrined in the Katima Mulilo Town Council Strategic Plan 2022-2027’s vision to improve service delivery.


NE: As mayor, how do you plan to work other lawmakers to drive and enact council policies in the benefit of residents of Katima?

JN: I intend to foster strong partnerships with other lawmakers to develop and enact policies that reflect the needs and aspirations of Katima Mulilo’s residents. Open communication and collaboration will be key in this endeavour.


NE: What are some of the community projects have you been involved in around town?

JN: I have been actively involved in various community projects aimed at improving education, healthcare, and infrastructure in Katima Mulilo. These initiatives have included school renovations undertaken by the regional council, health outreach programmes, road constructions and maintenance projects, for example, the Lifasi interlocked road.


NE: . How do you plan to bring economic development and growth to Katima such as getting investors on board?

JN: To attract investors and promote economic growth, I, in consultation with the council and the office of the chief executive officer resolved to focus on creating a conducive business environment through incentives, infrastructure development, and marketing campaigns highlighting the town’s potential. These initiatives include constructing a secure one-stop bus terminal on the outstate of the B8 road next to Shaka and Midas Shops and adjacent to the sports complex.


NE: How do you plan to address budgetary challenges and maintain a balanced budget while meeting community needs?

JN: Addressing budgetary challenges will require careful planning, prioritisation of needs, and exploring alternative revenue sources. I will work closely with council members and the CEO’s Office to ensure a balanced budget while meeting community needs. The introduction of a traffic anbd law enforcement division is further a testament to this initiative for financial sustainability.


NE: What are some of your initiatives you intend to come up with in terms of crime reduction at the town?

JN: Implementing community policing programmes, enhancing street lighting, and collaborating with law enforcement agencies are among the initiatives my office introduced in cooperation with the Namibian Police in the Zambezi region. One such initiative was undertaken in December 2023, before Christmas, and aimed at reducing crime in Katima Mulilo over the festive season.


NE: How you plan to tackle unemployment and create job opportunities in Katima especially among the youth?

JN: In creating job opportunities for youth, I have started partnerships with local businesses, where we wish to embark on offering skills development programs that promote entrepreneurship initiatives to empower young people and stimulate economic growth through the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) programmes.


NE: Water and power cuts are constant occurrences in Katima leaving residents with no water and electricity for days. What exactly is the problem that people have to endure such inconveniences of power and water cuts? And how do you plan to solve these issues?

JN: Addressing water and power cuts will require infrastructure upgrades, maintenance, and exploring alternative sources of energy and water supply. I have prioritised these issues to ensure residents have reliable access to essential services such as water. Engagement on the town council’s alternative water supply has already been ensured, whilst feasibility studies are underway.

NE: The town have so many potholes and residents have expressed concern for a while over the state of the town’s roads. How do you plan to address this issue?

JN: My office prioritises improving road infrastructure and addressing potholes, involving collaboration with relevant authorities. Note should be taken that an initiative for a memorandum of agreement was entered into with the Road Fund Administration and Roads Authority to assist with planning our road infrastructures. Allocating resources for road maintenance and implementing long-term road rehabilitation plans have already been implemented, including ceding the RFA subsidy to the Roads Authority to fast-track the infrastructure planning, engineering and possible construction.


NE: How do you plan to address this issue of street beggars around the shops and malls?

JN: Addressing the issue of street beggars will involve a multifaceted approach, including social assistance programs, rehabilitation services, and community outreach efforts to address the root causes of homelessness and poverty.


NE: What are some of your ideas to to tackle food insecurity at the town?

JN: The council’s key strategies to tackle food insecurity and promote self-sufficiency are promoting backyard gardening initiatives, supporting community gardens, and providing education on sustainable agriculture practices. The council intends to turn all mulapos [riverbeds] within the town into irrigation schemes to address the food shortage. 


NE: Since the town’s management committee’s legitimacy is being disputed, how do you plan to work together for a common purpose to uplift and offer services to residents? 

JN: With the notion that once elections are over; every councillor in council serves council at the beheist of its residents irrespective of their polical party and party ideologies. I am committed to fostering a spirit of cooperation and unity among council members, regardless of political affiliations. To do this, I have encouraged open dialogue, consensus-building, and a shared commitment to serving the community with all councillors, which will serve as a guide for our efforts to overcome any disputes and work towards common goals. I am dedicated to serving the residents of Katima Mulilo with integrity, transparency, and a strong sense of purpose. We can overcome challenges and build a brighter future for our town.