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Regional council did not consult enough residents on constituency changes

Written by on June 17, 2024

Due to insufficient public consultation, the Khomas Regional Council has had to cancel the two-day public hearing with the fifth Boundaries Delimitation and Demarcation Commission.

During the first session of the commission’s public hearing in the Khomas region on Thursday, it was revealed that regional councillors did not consult widely with residents in their constituencies.

The regional council made a submission to the commission to divide and expand some of the boundaries of the constituencies.

As the commission questioned the councillors and the residents, it was revealed that only a handful of between 30 000 to 90 000 residents in most constituencies were consulted.

In one case, only 71 of 92 402 residents were consulted on dividing the Samora Machel constituency into two.

This was revealed on Thursday during a public hearing with the fifth Boundaries Delimitation and Demarcation Commission.

Samora Machel constituency councillor Nelson Kalola admitted to commission chairperson Petrus Unengu that 71 residents were present at the public meeting.

The commission expressed dismay at the low number of residents that participated in the meeting and requested residents present to indicate their opinions on the council’s suggestions.

“In some constituencies, the councillors had four meetings to consult their residents,” Unengu told the councillors.

Katutura Central constituency community activist Shaun Gariseb said his councillor addressed six community district committee members last Monday.

With the cancellation, the regional council will do “things” the correct way, he added.

“The demarcations can’t be decided by selfish, underperforming councillors. We will give well researched and honest submissions tomorrow on behalf of our people that are adversely affected by these demarcations,” Gariseb said.

Samora Machel resident Sacheus Malima said he was at the meeting with his fellow district neighbours for the consultation but was turned away.

“They said the meeting was only for the district leaders,” he said.

Khomas governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua requested that the commission give them additional time to do more consultations.

Harold Akwenye


Furthermore, City of Windhoek spokesperson Harold Akwenye told The Namibian yesterday if there were any alterations to regional or constituency boundaries the regional council felt were important, input on such engagements would have taken place prior to the regional consultation.

Akwenye was responding to the chairperson taking issue with the absence of the City of Windhoek during the public hearing and in the submission of the regional council.

Unengu on Thursday said he expected the municipality to join the Khomas Regional Council or provide a separate submission on how the changes will affect service delivery.

Khomas chief regional officer Clement Mafwila told Unengu that the municipality was invited, but to no avail.

Akwenye reasoned that to have expected the City of Windhoek to attend and make submissions at the regional consultation is to “totally miss the point and fail to recognise” the role of regional councils in determining the appropriate internal structuring of regions for purposes of effective administration.

“Should the changes to regional boundaries, especially the Khomas-Hardap boundary be a topic of discussion, we then needed to be consulted alongside the line ministry because of the gazetted extended boundary,” he said.

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