It’s been five years since President Hifikepunye Pohamba appointed 13 regional governors for all the regions of the country, now 14.
These would be the President’s representatives in terms of regional governance of the country’s rural development. Namibia is a vast country, which is sparsely populated. Some of the regions are relatively well-developed while others seriously lag behind in that regard.
Most of the governors appointed by the President were moved to regions without provisions for accommodation and were thus left to survive on their own.
Their first capital budget provisions were to construct regional head offices and to streamline infrastructure development and attend to the plight of the people in their particular regions. The Ministry of Local and Regional Development was assigned the responsibility to facilitate the construction of official residential structures for governors in each region.
When the budget was tabled in Parliament, the original concept was changed to “Mini State Houses for the President” instead of official residences for the governors.
Now that the notion of “Mini Regional State Houses” has since been dropped, we are still keen to hear from the line ministry why this project/tender has since been put on hold.
Namibia is now overwhelmed by the rural-to-urban influx, especially by the young men and women seeking job opportunities. For the last 18 years, Government has embarked on a decentralisation policy aimed at empowering the regional authorities to manage the affairs of their regions and to carry out social and economic projects and programmes. All these have been aimed at creating job opportunities for the residents of the regions.
Regions such as Khomas, //Kharas, Omaheke, Erongo and Otjozondjupa are metropolitan areas with well-established infrastructure (roads, communication, water, commerce, etc.). Others such as Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kavango West and Kavango East and Zambezi need urgent intervention when it comes to development.
If we want to maintain a sustainable economic base in our country, then we must go back to the drawing board and bring in the regional development we are now ignoring. If we make it a habit to be reactive to crisis when it comes instead of planning ahead of it, the overall social and economic development of Namibia will continue to move backwards instead of facilitating the expected transformations.
Instead of building a new Parliament building at the cost of N$700m, why not divert that money to rural development, especially to construct official residential houses for the governors, build hospitals and clinics and then provide subsidies on diesel and food items, which are now beyond reach for the ordinary man’s pocket?
Namibia is a God-blessed country in so many ways and if we could only put aside our pride and follow the instructions from the Holy Scriptures on how to manage the wealth entrusted to us, we would certainly reach better heights.