ONGWEDIVA - The new Oshikuku constituency councillor, Mathew Gabriel, says he will prioritise youth programmes, horticulture, as well as tackle rampant unemployment among young people and women when he takes office.
Gabriel, who is expected to be sworn in this week, said youth unemployment is a national problem and
Oshikuku is no exception; hence, there is a need to look at the programmes that can improve the livelihood of the youth at a constituency level.
Gabriel was the sole contender of the Oshikuku by-elections and replaces former councillor Modestus Amutse, who is set to go to parliament next year.
Amutse is number 47 on the Swapo party parliamentary list.
Equally, Gabriel said a country like Namibia, which is vast in natural resources such as water and land, cannot continue depending on neighbouring South Africa for produce that can also be produced locally.
He said as a councillor he will encourage the residents to utilise the resources at their disposal to produce food for themselves and subsequently for resale.
“If we have the resources, we have to utilise them to reduce the export cost so that we consume what we are producing,” said Gabriel.
He said Oshikuku, like many other parts in the Omusati Region, have the privilege of water from the Calueque canal and should thus not be relying on exports.
He said there are currently only a few backyard gardens in Oshikuku, so the community should be encouraged to set up gardens to sustain themselves.
“We have water and land; all we need is equipment and at times like these, when we do not receive enough rain, we cannot sit idle – we have to find means to produce food,” said Gabriel.
As for women, Gabriel said they need to be empowered, as they have already demonstrated to fight poverty and unemployment by vending across the town.
He said his plans cannot be done in isolation; therefore, he will need to acquaint himself with where his predecessor has left off.
He further said his plans will be guided by the Swapo party manifesto.
“These are the plans I will need to implement because electorates were promised services by the party, and it is our duty to deliver as per the party’s wish,” said Gabriel.
Gabriel, until he was declared councillor of Oshikuku, served as a local authority councillor at Oshikuku Town Council, where he has been a member of the management committee.