Dispelling myths about civil service
Beaven Walubita is a senior civil servant, charged with the planning and implementation of developmental programmes for the northeastern region of Zambezi.
“I am responsible for providing strategic leadership to the directorate of planning, monitoring and evaluation and assist the chief regional officer in implementing council resolutions, particularly those in line with the mandate of Zambezi Regional Council (ZRC), which is to plan and implement developmental programmes, aimed at developing the region, budget execution, monitoring and evaluation of projects. I am also responsible for coordinating sectoral developmental programmes in the region,” Walubita said about his role as the regional council’s director for planning, monitoring and evaluation.
He is an economist by profession, with a career that spans over a period of 21 years. It all started shortly after he graduated with an economics degree from the University of Namibia.
Walubita first joined the public service in 1999 as a development planner at the National Planning Commission, where he worked until 2009.
“Joining as a civil servant was a pride. It was a lifetime achievement as well for an individual who was a civil service aspirant because overcoming obstacles to become one among the graduates to take charge as a civil servant was an unexplainable moment in life,” he recalled.
He briefly left the public service to work as a researcher at the Namibia Economic Policy Research Unit and later as an economics lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
In 2012, he re-joined the public service through the Zambezi Regional Council as a deputy director.
“In this sector, my responsibility is service delivery to the general public. However, we cannot satisfy everybody. Some people will still complain and accuse us of not doing anything. It is human nature and I have learned to use that as a learning curve for improvement every day. The biggest challenge is limited funding; I do not want to see projects start and collapse during implementation because it’s delayed service delivery,” he said about the challenging part of his job.
However, he takes pride in his work as a public servant.
“I have always believed that service-related work is the most rewarding. Knowing that my job is part of a larger initiative to maintain and improve public life keeps me motivated. I like solving problems for the communities – be it water, sanitation, infrastructure, etc. I have learned to be patient and respectful when dealing with the general public.”
Meanwhile, Walubita does not take kindly to the common misconception that public servants are below-average performers.
“Most people say public servants are lazy, with low education levels; that there is too much bureaucracy. That is very wrong because not everybody in the public service is lazy. If we had lazy public servants, we would not have a government operating in such an organised manner from the central to regional governments. We do have very highly educated people in the public service who are delivering accordingly. Bureaucracy is good in any institution for implementation, administration and regulation.”
In his case, he is a highly trained economist. Apart from his bachelor’s degree in economics, he boosted his academic profile with a master’s degree from Williams College in the USA.
In 2008, he added another branch of economics to his career with an Advanced Diploma in International Trade and Trade Law, obtained from the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute through the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa, Arusha, Tanzania.
Concerning his work-related accomplishment, Walubita takes pride in crafting the ZRC’s strategic plan.
“I took the leadership of the production of our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan without involving any consultant. I trusted myself and the team I worked with that if a consultant can do the strategic plan for us, then we can do it even better because we have to own it and all the information required; we have better knowledge of it than anybody else. That was done successfully and it is due for review next year.”
Walubita said he can recommend anyone to take up a career in public service.
“Namibia is not just changing with time; it’s evolving. Civil servants, in one way, decide the fate of the nation as the implementation of all developmental and other government policies rest with them. Please be a civil servant so that together we can achieve a bigger goal.”
He plans to serve in the public service for more years.
“I am giving myself a few more years – probably 10 more years. I will be gone while I still have energy and venture into full-time farming.”
Walubita is a native of the Zambezi region. He grew up herding cattle throughout his childhood at Nfune village in Lusese area.
“I wish to contribute my best in developing this region and change lives for many residents in the region for the better. Our vision is to see the prosperity of the region built through good governance.
“What is important to me right now is to continue serving the Namibian population in general and residents of Zambezi Region in particular,” he said.