13 December 2012

Namibia: Matengu Is New Katima Mulilo Mayor

Former chairperson of the Management Committee of the Katima Mulilo Town Council, Charles Mukaya Matengu, on Monday was sworn in as the new mayor of the town.

This follows after former and long-serving mayor John Likando relinquished the position, as well as his position as a local authority councillor to pursue other interests. Matengu is deputised by Georgina Mwiya Simataa.

Salubila Maswahu took over Matengu's previous position and is now the chairman of the Management Committee.

Other Management Committee members include Nsala Muhongo Mapenzi and former deputy mayor Esther Sankwasa.

The position of deputy chairperson of the Management Committee remains vacant pending a decision from the Swapo Party to fill Likando's position as councillor. Likando however remains a councillor until such a decision has been taken.

The Swapo Party dominates the town council with six councillors, with only one from the opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

In his inaugural speech, Matengu acknowledged the challenges facing the town and pledged to improve service delivery, especially to residents in the informal settlements.

"I know that the task is daunting and challenging. If you look at our informal settlements, they find it hard to survive due to limited services. We need to provide services to our people. They need better roads, electricity, sewerage, houses and shopping malls.

Support is needed from each and every one of us to move the town to another level. The outgoing mayor has laid a foundation and the onus is on us to move forward," said Matengu.

Outgoing mayor Likando whose work at the town council began nine years ago before reaching the highest echelon as mayor, thanked his colleagues for the support they rendered him during his tenure.

"I started at council from 2004 to date. Even though my departure is untimely, I explained the whole situation to the party and they accepted my decision. The same request was given last year, but I was asked to continue for some time. I give my gratitude to council for the support given all these years. During my time, I served as mayor, deputy mayor, chairperson and member of the Management Committee and I learnt a lot during my stay," said Likando.

Although not specific on what the former mayor intends to do next, he appears to want to venture full-time into business.

"I am a director in my own business and when you are wasting government time by serving two masters you must choose the best master. I will continue to maintain a relationship with the town council through public-private partnership. I did not run away from challenges, I am a person who believes in risks," said the outgoing mayor.

Likando, the youngest and longest serving mayor of Katima Mulilo, spent six consecutive years in that position. He was elected in May of 2006 when he was only 27 years old. Likando is credited for passing a number of resolutions that saw the realisation of major projects such as the construction and maintenance of roads; the formalisation of informal settlements; the establishment of a new CBD at the town; the procurement of heavy machinery and equipment for the town council, as well as the introduction of bylaws dealing with, amongst others, debt collection.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Katima Mulilo Town Council, Charles Nawa, also revealed at the swearing-in ceremony that a town council office complex to be located adjacent to the Zambezi Shopping Mall would soon be built for N$25 million, as well as a shopping mall by Saflam at a cost of N$140 million. Likando's term as mayor was due to end in 2014.

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