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Decentralization and good governance

By Josephat Inambao Sinvula
The SWAPO-Party led government has subjected itself to the Constitution of Namibia's Chapter 12, Article 102(1) on the policy of decentralization that was launched on March 30, 1998. The Article provides for the structure of regional and local government under the Regional Councils Act, 1992 (Act No. 22 of 1992) and Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act No. 23 of 1992) as amended, that calls for the establishment of Councils, qualifications and elections of Councillors.

Both Acts empower the Regional and Local Authority Councillors to form the administrative structures to run and implement the decisions of the Councils such as that of the Management Committees, Ordinary Council Committee Meetings and office bearers of the Councils such as the Chief Regional Officers, Chief Executive Officers, staff and employees of the Councils.

The Acts also provide for the powers, duties, functions, rights and obligations of Councils and financial matters of the Regional and Local Authority Councils. Other legislations were passed in 2000, such as the Regional Councils Amendment Act, Local Authorities Amendment Act, Decentralization Enabling Act and the Trust Fund for Regional Development and Equity Provisions Act.

By the year 2030 this will lead to the realization of decentralization that empowers local communities and regional councils to be fully involved in the development process and to actually formulate and implement their respective development plans while the central government- working hand in hand with civil society organizations-shall provide the enabling environment (laws, policies, finance, security) for effective management of national and regional and local development efforts.

Namibia became independent on 21 March 1990 as a sovereign, secular, democratic and unitary State based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all. This is the basis on which good governance has been so far carried out where fundamental rights and freedoms of all Namibians are respected. Freedom of press, assembly and speech are well exercised. Print and electronic media are free to express their opinion without any threat or harassment of any kind. Live-talk shows on both radio and television where people call in to express their views on issues that disturb peace and political stability have become sources to practice our freedom of opinion. The freedom of press also contributes to peace and stability in that people, civil society are always well informed of the policies of the government by independent monitors.

By 2030, Namibia will be in a position to maintain, consolidate and extend the good governance practices of a multi-party democracy with high levels of participation, rights, freedoms and legitimacy (under the constitution) which continue to serve a model for other countries in Africa.





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