By Alkali Amana
Newly appointed in 2020 as the governor of the //Kharas region, in Namibia, Aletha Frederick entered office with a promise to leave no inhabitant of the region behind, and a year on from then, she is still working seriously to fulfil that mandate. Coming in, she expressed her dream for //Kharas to be the region where everyone’s hopes and ambitions are realized, calling for collective efforts from citizens in tackling socio-economic challenges in the region. She urged inhabitants of the region to set aside politics, race and gender to ensure people are not held back by poverty and rendered herself for service regardless of the different political beliefs residents of the region may possess while requesting inclusivity through the contribution of everyone. In this manner, Frederick laid and solidified the foundation for the excellence she follows through within governance today.
Her focus from the beginning was on the responsibility to ensure the implementation of the fifth National Development Plan and council strategic plans, using her government as an institution to contribute to national development at the regional level so the greater objective of achieving the full industrialization of Namibia can be realized and employment can be created for citizens with no hindrances or barriers to their engagement; while she also possessed the short-term goal of expediting the implementation of socio-economic development projects planned by her predecessors to increase the development of the region as well.
On the day she delivered her maiden State of the Region Address (SORA) in August 2020, Frederick stamped her feet to insist on the notion that it was time to unleash the //Kharas’ full economic potential and showcase it to the world. Making a case for the achievement of such idea as she talked on that day in Keetmanshoop, she noted that the region possessed the means to take full advantage of economic opportunities in within it through socially inclusive innovation and enterprise development, and this was to come to fruition with efforts building on the thriving diverse mixed economy of which the region boasts, with nationally and globally recognized economic sectors such as agriculture, mining and fishing in consideration. The drive to achieve growth has seen her declare on the back of policies her office has developed to see the development of //Kharas that the region is open for business, global trade and SME development like never seen before. In governing, Frederick has prodded the fast implementation of capital projects in the region, imploring government agencies to monitor performance in this regard. She has used her position to sound the awareness to public servants to strictly comply with fund disbursement conditions as directed by the treasury, and adhere to the Public Procurement Act in implementing capital projects. And, she has worked to see the implementation of projects across agriculture, health, education, infrastructure and the development of SMEs.
Having taken over at a time when the Covid pandemic was sending its waves to the African continent, Frederick wasted no time in initiating an awareness campaign on educating citizens on Covid19 and its effects, as she helped with the distribution of materials donated by the Ministry of Trade and Industrialization to sew face masks as part of efforts against the virus. Following strong efforts on vaccination within //Kharas, most recently, three districts in the region had an impressive combined average Covid-19 recovery rate of 95.4% in May 2021, a feat which Frederick commended as encouraging and commendable when she led the way in receiving the second jab for vaccination against the virus just as she did in the first. The recovery progress of the districts Karasburg, Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz reveal just how much strong efforts have gone into passing the right message to enable citizens to adhere strictly to Covid protocols and also get vaccinated; and, even with the success achieved, Frederick emphasized the need for residents to continue with hand washing and sanitization to ensure hygienic practices, as they should also continue with wearing masks and maintaining their social distance, as they are vital to curbing further spread of the virus.
Frederick is dedicating her efforts and self to the development of her people, and in no distant time when she capitalizes her tenure, the hope remains that this amazon’s quest and implementation for regional growth and development will resonate through time and set the standards for other leaders to follow.