Now that President Dr Hage Geingob can be comfortable knowing that he has the A-team to help him administer all of government’s policies, it is high time someone sits the big man down and tell him that we are day dreaming if we think that servicing and distributing land in other towns will fix some of our problems.
Pertaining to land, I think most of us are exhausted even though we have not really been able to sit and talk about something that sounds feasible but the latest news is that we should expect government to subsidise about 200 000 plots to be serviced in Windhoek, Oshakati and Walvisbay. I think this should also have included Keetmanshoop because the south is one of our most valuable yet untapped region.
I think we need to keep in mind that there is not point in being able to buy a cheaper plot in Oshakati or Walvisbay if all the jobs that will allow you to afford that plot are in Windhoek.
Namibia is one of many African countries who suffer from a syndrome of centralisation and is taking quite long to decentralise which we think is one of the issues that government should be looking to address in the next 5 to 10 years.
There is a reason all the land frustration is being felt in the capital city only. This is because most people flock to the capital to search for jobs which most people find, whether you are cashier, nurse of lawyer. However, affordable accommodation is not as easy to find.
This means that for the longest time we have been ignoring issues around decentralisation. We have tried to address this in the press before, we have also seen these same complaints laid out by the Auditor General when he audits local authorities in other regions. His concerns are always that local authorities do not have the human resources to carry out the recommendations made by his office. The local authorities have said that they are most facing a challenge of losing these resources to the capital city or bigger towns.
This means that a young person is most likely to leave Omaruru to go and work in Swakopmund or Windhoek because of better services and job opportunities.
Decentralising allows the equal distribution of governing powers to local authorities which cuts down on work being prolonged because of unnecessary bureaucratic systems.
This allows local authorities which are at a better stance of understanding the community’s needs to act on them quickly without having to wait for a green light from government.
Of course this goes without saying that decentralisation would mean giving some governing power to a unit that could abuse it but that’s what are your experts are for, to make sure that there are not loopholes that will allow the misuse of office.
For a country that is 25 years old, going on 26, it is not acceptable that someone living in Koes travel all the way to Windhoek only to have an ID replaced.
Government during its consultations for all the new additions on the revamped ministry should have added a function for Decentralisation as it has done of employment creation etc.
Although we have tried to set up the system by making sure that local authorities include town councils and region councils which are supposed to oversee regional functions, these regional authorities have not been availed the necessary powers to govern their locations.
The regional authorities cannot on their own decide on the development of their towns as most decisions are expected to come from government. This is paralysing because its is like having a board of directors that wants to decide on the operation of a company even though it does not know what the company is doing most of the time.