Just like any other new politician in office, the councillor for Onesi constituency, Festus Petrus, has aspirations he wishes to attain during his tenure.
Filling the shoes of his predecessor and Swapo stalwart Titus Kanyele, the new broom is at work to fulfil his campaign promises.
Accorded a chance to give a roadmap to development projects he plans to implement, Petrus said he aims to improve the road network in the constituency.
“As we all know, the Epalela-Onesi-Tsandi gravel is one of the prioritised roads to be tarred in the Omusati region whenever the budget allows. What is encouraging is that government has recognised the need to improve this road – and very soon, it will happen,” he told New Era.
He said the idea is that while the Epalela-Onesi-Tsandi gravel is upgraded to bitumen, nearby schools such as Iilyateko, Shikongo yaShikongo, Elondo West, Isak Katali, Iyambo Iyambo and Ontoko should also be connected to it by gravel.
The councillor plans to facilitate the construction of other new gravel roads in the constituency to link different villages and allow better movement, starting with the extension of the Eunda to Etunda gravel road.
This would cross villages such as Eenkalashe, Olwadhiya and Eenawa to Etunda, where it will connect to the main road leading to Ruacana from Outapi.
The gravel roads are meant to ease the movement mostly during rainy seasons, where villagers have to always abandon their short roads to work, schools, shops or clinics and church because of deep water.
“My suggestion is that we should not wait for the money to be enough to start with the tarring of the road – whatever amount is available should be utilised so that we at least have something started.”
“This road is hampering development in the constituency, as investors are neglecting us due to that; they are not comfortable with their vehicles (trucks or buses) travelling on the gravel, which is in a deplorable condition,” said the councillor.
Other isolated areas that might need roads, especially during the rainy season, include Uuhongo, Okasheshete and Oshithashembungu.
“All these road projects, should they materialise, would provide the much-needed employment to our youth.”
To start with, consultative meetings will be convened in all villages of the constituency shortly. Community development committee members, traditional authority leaders, business owners and community members are expected to attend, where their input on initiatives on development will be heard and considered.
“I will give a platform to the electorate to have a say in the decision-making process and tell us what they need; we cannot just impose projects on people without their knowledge.”
He said the leading topic on the agenda will be to rally business owners to start investing and developing Onesi settlement, which will help elevate it to village status.
“Let us not wait for people from other places to bring us development; we have to do it ourselves and the time is now. We can start building houses, business establishments and offices so that by the time land servicing starts, we are almost done,” he motivated.
Areas of Onandjandja, Oshaala, Onandiinotya, Okasheshete and Oshikondiilongo have no telecommunication towers for cellphone reception.
As such, residents are somehow cut-off from the rest of the world.
“Once the money is available from the service providers or government, we plan to have towers erected in these villages so that our people can communicate effectively.”
The councillor encourages digging earth dams to harvest rainwater during the rainy season.
He said this will boost the availability of water in the constituency, where residents do not have to depend on potable water only.
“Our animals will now have adequate water and community gardening is made easy for food sufficiency and income generation.”
Onandjandja, Oshikondiilongo, Okasheshete, Oshithashembungu have no clinics; people walk more than 30 kilometres to Onesi hospital.
Other areas that are far from health centres are Eenkalashe, Uuhongo and Okashaningwa, whose people also trek kilometres to Etunda and Eunda to access clinics.
The politician said it will be best that these people are availed health centres close to them.
Residents are encouraged to tune in to radio and other communication mediums to be up-to-date with development topics and the latest happenings concerning them.
“Our people must feel free to consult my office anytime; it is not the councillor’s office but it is an office for the people. It does not belong to an individual or a group of people only,” Petrus said.