Katima CEO: Inside The Man Namibians would love to hate

Born and raised in the Zambezi Region, 44-year-old Raphael Liswaniso has been a temporary teacher, policeman and even prison officer, and now is probably the most hated Namibian on earth after he took a destructive route of demolishing houses of Katima residents.

It was only a decade ago when he joined the National Planning Commission as Audit Specialist for three years that his star begun shinning brighter, before moving to Walvis Bay Town council where he cut teeth in local authority development.

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Appointed Katima Mulilo Chief Executive Officer Raphael Liswaniso, recently opened up to us.

Congratulations on your appointment as the new CEO of Katima Mulilo. Why do you think you are the right man for the job?

The right person is the one who has been interviewed for the job and has satisfied the employers and because of that, I believe I am right person for the job. I am a man who believes in growth and my main goals is to deliver constantly and not to be static in my mandate. Being a visionary, I look at the situation of the town of Katima Mulilo and I look forward to making it a success for the residents of the town as well as for prospective citizens. Naturally, I detest corruption, a fact which is known even by my former colleagues at Walvis Bay Municipality, because it disadvantages the very people who entrusted the authorities with their resources. Corruption causes social disparities and worsens the plight of the marginalised and those are the very issues that I pledge to fight against in the town and region of Zambezi as a whole.

How are you going to work with council and residents in order to restore their trust in your office?

I believe that business is for people and therefore, they need to take ownership of the town. We need to be in cohesion with the community and businesspeople if the town is to progress in the direction and speed that we desire. All projects initiated by council are for the people and not council’s so it is essential that trust is created by involving them in decision making and the budget.  

The housing and land crisis is one I intend to prioritise by finding strategies and ways to meet the needs of this regard. Land distribution is usually marred by corruption and this needs to be replaced by a transparent system of allocating the resources. The financial muscle of council is dependent on residents’ rates and thus it is very important to demonstrate that their money is being used for productive purposes.

What are the key aspects you will start working on?

Infrastructure development is on top of the list as the town is failing to attract investors because of its deplorable conditions. The roads are potholed and the tourist centres are not marketable and these issues contribute immensely to the high unemployment rates in out town and region.

Katima Mulilo has an urgent need for security especially in the informal sector as most of the streets have no names.  

The land issue is one of the most urgent concerns not only in Katima Mulilo but in the country as a whole. There is much unserviced land in the town which requires donor funding and investors to make it functional. The geographical formation of the land in Katima Mulilo is less expensive than most other towns in Namibia because it is flat and has less rock formations.  

What do you expect in your first 100 days in office?

I am anticipating a cleaner town so that investors are attracted by the orderliness of Katima Mulilo. The short term plan is to be the cleanest town in Namibia.

My plan is to revamp the structure of council to make it more productive. Instead of just downsizing we will rightsize, to put the right people in the right capacities and in the correct numbers.

Our town needs a strategic plan because the last one just developed into a white paper. This also gives need for the whole structure to be audited to ensure that resources are well managed.

The first 100 days are also a great opportunity to engage and involve the people so effective consultations can lead to a beneficial strategic plan for the town.

What is your message to the residents of Katima Mulilo?

We need to work together because the town is for us all. This is our duty not only for the town but the whole region. Everyone should bring ideas to council if they have any because Katima Mulilo Town Council is not mine but ours. Residents should not hesitate to come on board because it is their taxes and rates that finances the operations of council.

I promise to act at their service at all times.