Constituency offices need more autonomy

27 November 2019 | Local News

Nkurenkuru constituency councillor Damian Nakambare is calling for the proposed Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Bill to be passed so that constituency offices can be in a better position to address urgent community issues.

Talking to Ewi lyaNooli about the issues affecting Nkurenkuru Constituency, Nakambare said the limited funds allocated to regional constituency offices do not allow them to carry out their mandate effectively, especially when it comes to pressing issues that need urgent intervention.

Nakambare said whenever he engages the community, he is informed about problems that he cannot do much about.

“The thing is that whenever I go to the community and engage the people, the community members will share with me what challenges they are faced with, but the resources to address their issues are limited and there is not much we can do,” Nakambare said.

Nakambare said he is trying to convince government offices to make budgetary provisions for such interventions.

“What I used to do is knock at various offices presenting the challenges of the people and hoping that they at least include them when they make their budgets,” he said.

That is why Nakambare wants the CDF Bill passed. He said it would empower constituency offices to fast-track development and curb their dependence on central government.

“Once the constituency development fund is implemented, the days of only relying on central government will be gone. At least we will have the resources to address issues which are not complex,” he said.

The objective of the CDF Bill is to financially assist the development of the 14 regions of Namibia.

The process started in 2014 when the bill was proposed in the National Council, after which regional consultations were held in all 14 regions.

When asked about the bill's progress, Nakambare said it was with the office of the minister of urban and rural development, Peya Mushelenga, who would present it to the cabinet for approval. Once that is done, it would be tabled in the National Assembly for debate.

Nakambare said he was hopeful that parliament would pass the bill.

Speaking about the problems experienced in his constituency, Nakambare said the current procurement policy should be reviewed, as it prevents local businesses from contributing towards the development of the constituency.

Nakambare said local businesses are not benefiting from tenders, simply because they do not know how to submit a bid.

He believes that local people should be involved in development projects in order to alleviate unemployment.

“It is a challenge for our people to benefit because the procurement policy procedures disadvantage our local people when it comes to being contracted to do development projects,” he said.

Nakambare pointed out that the Nkurenkuru Constituency needs roads to Karanawa, Kulisuka, Maporeza and Mayara villages, and electricity supply to villages such as Siudiva, Kakuro and Siurungu.

Nakambare also listed some of the successes of his office since his election as regional councillor for the constituency.

These included distributing fish to community members in several villages, assisting the youth to enrol at tertiary institutions, establishing community projects at several villages, attracting businesses to Nkurenkuru and rehabilitating some water points.

He stressed that much remains to be done.

“I can say we have done a lot during my tenure as the councillor, but it is not enough; my office will continue to strive for the uplifting of people in the communities,” Nakambare said.