RUNDU, Sept. 22 – Rundu Mayor Verna Sinimbo’s town is Namibia’s fastest growing population with approximately 64 000 inhabitants, according to Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), making it the second largest population in the country after Windhoek.
Although such a large population can be challenging due to the large demand it places on the provision of services, having such a rapidly expanding town is exciting, according to Sinimbo, as it means that there is a high demand for development and innovation.
A large number of people are flocking to Rundu as they see it as a place of opportunity, and one of the success stories of her leadership was highlighted when her town hosted the 26th Independence celebrations on 21 March this year.
“In fact, the vision of our town is to be ‘a city of diverse opportunities and a centre of socio-economic excellence’ and we realize that in order to achieve this, we as a local authority must align ourselves with the nation’s developmental goals,” she said.
Sinimbo’s dedicated leadership won over the hearts of many residents when she weeded out top senior officials who were under an umbrella of uncertainty after they were accused of maladministration and corruption. Subsequently, Chief Executive Officer Romanus Haironga, Strategic Executive for Corporate Service and Administration Herman Haingura, as well as Divisional Head for Enviornmental Health Sithembinkosi Moyo were all suspended.
Meanwhile, in terms of infrastructural development, she places the availability of affordable housing as a high priority. “The Rundu Town Council has successfully allocated and handed over all 78 of the social houses under the Namibia Housing Enterprise Mass Housing Project, and such service to the people is what we want to achieve more of,”said Sinimbo.
She added: “We are also striving to create more jobs for our people and expanding our tourism industry is one of the ways we thought this can be achieved. Our natural resources and our beautiful land fall among our most valuable assets and therefore there is major potential for substantial economic benefits from tourism. We have thus budgeted to build a tourism information center in Rundu which will coordinate tourism activities, such as providing tourism maps of our town and have tour guides easily available for our tourists.”
She noted that her town is strategically position to act as a gateway that can link several SADC countries with Namibia’s port of Walvisbay, hence creating an attraction for a lot cross border business.
“In our development plans we have earmarked for the development of a dry port. The dry port which will be used for the transportation of cargoes coming from overseas via Walvisbay and will serve as a pick up point for countries like Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”
Moreover, she said that the aim is to create better living conditions for residents and engage in activities that promote economic growth, and pointed out that a suitable foundation to translate words into action, would be the annual Trade Fair coming up in November.
“Although this is a once off event in a year, we want to encourage our people to be innovative and entrepreneurial, because this is the key to poverty alleviation and maximizing opportunities for development,”
Though she has earned rave reviews in the recent past for her efforts, she still has a mountain to climb with regards to facilitating the improvement of the roads within the town, while the topic of litter and rubbish in the streets is a scourge to her reputation.
Sinimbo is one of the four Central Committee nominees of Kavango East to the Swapo Party congress come November. – Robert Maseka