Bridge between regional council and public
Salomo Kashimbode Tenga cut his teeth in journalism at the national broadcaster, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), before making a career transition into the public service.
The Rundu-born and raised has vast experience in broadcast journalism. He has an honours degree in media studies and industrial psychology from the University of Namibia and a certificate in media relations from the Renmin University of China.
Tenga worked as a news reporter at NBC for close to six years. He also had an opportunity to work as a producer at China Global Television Network in Beijing as well as a journalist for the China-Africa Press Centre.
He currently serves as senior public relations officer for the Kavango West Regional Council since December 2019.
He recalled, “Growing up, I always wanted to work for the government. I joined the public service because I wanted to be part and parcel of the process and serve the people. It feels good to know your daily routine impacts positively on thousands of lives”.
He added that “It’s always a pleasure to work in the government, as it allows you to be part of the process to bring about change in the livelihood of the citizens. Working for the government gives one an overview to understand that those who are voted to be part of the policy and law-making process have a huge responsibility and it is upon us, as public servants, to help them achieve the aspirations of the laws they are enacting. Working for government makes one learn the hard way, since the final decision is never yours alone but a collective.”
As a public relations officer, Tenga serves as a bridge between the regional council and the public.
“It is important that I maintain a sound relationship with the public. It is my responsibility to ensure access of government information to the public, to implement and review communication activities in line with government policies and programmes, and to further assist the government with strengthening government media relations locally, nationally and internationally, amongst many other responsibilities,” he said.
Although it is exciting to be the face of the Kavango West Regional Council, his job also comes with added public expectations.
“Having to deal with the public is what makes my job challenging and exciting at the same time. Being the spokesperson of the regional council is already challenging, as the public expects you to know all government programmes. Therefore, I am always on my toes to ensure information is readily available.
“Another challenge is keeping up with public queries related to government activities in the region. Sometimes, the public expects you to respond to their queries right away. Unfortunately, it takes time to get information to my office from relevant departments to provide feedback to public concerns.”
Tenga noted that his expertise is beneficial to the public service in the sense that the public gets to know about government activities in the north-eastern region.
“Promoting a two-way communication between government and the public helps enhance transparency and accountability,” he said.
Meanwhile, the goal-driven Tenga is happy with his accomplishments, despite being still at the onset of his public service career.
“I am proud of my accomplishments that were made possible with the help of the team. It is a pleasure to have initiated communication strategies that enable the provision of information on government programmes to the public. The establishment of the social media footprint for the regional council and the establishment of a series of the council’s official newsletters are a few of the accomplishments I can mention.”
Tenga is also proud to have coordinated the finalisation of the official website of the Kavango West Regional Council, with the help of the Public Service Information and Technology Department in the Office of the Prime Minister.
Having spent much time working in the corporate sector, Tenga’s notion of public service was that of a laid back work environment, where people cruise in cars with green registration numbers.
However, these impressions have since changed after he joined the public service, and he completely disagrees with the notion that public servants are unproductive and inefficient.
“I have never thought of working in government before, since right after tertiary, I joined the private sector. But I have gotten to understand that working for government gives you space to contribute to service delivery to a larger audience and get to understand that we are servants of the people and not the bosses as many see it.”
As the saying goes, ‘the future is blurry’; for now, Tenga wants to cement his public service career.
“I wish to focus on my job for now, which is to continue informing the public to the best of my ability. How long I see serving in government, I wouldn’t know but I wish to see myself grow through the structures to enhance my career and knowledge to become a productive asset of the government to help with the implementation of all developmental programmes,” Tenga said about his plans.
As for what is on his wish list for the years to come, Tenga, who will be 30-year-old in August, said he values education and plans to add to his knowledge base.
“I plan to enrol for my master’s degree in strategic management to sharpen my supervisory skills. The sky is the limit, so I will let the rest flow.”