19 November 2012

Namibia: Three Names Proposed for New Delimitation Commission

OPPOSITION MPs in the National Assembly have appealed for a credible and non-partisan Delimitation Commission to be appointed with the approval of President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

The Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Jerry Ekandjo, last week proposed Judge Alfred Siboleka, Dr Zed Ngavirue and Dr John Steytler to serve on the newly constituted Commission.

In accordance with the law, Parliament has to appoint the commission that will redraw regional and constituency boundaries for governance and electoral purposes. The commissioners are elected in intervals of not less than six years, and not more than 12 years.

The new commission will be the third since independence.

All People’s Party (APP) president and MP Ignatius Shixwameni said in Parliament last week that constituency demarcation was being politicised, saying there should not be the perception that it is a “Swapo Party commission”.

“It must not be a partisan commission; it must be a commission of the Namibian State,” Shixwameni urged, adding: “The message should be clear and leave no doubts in the minds of the people that the commission is not a Swapo Party commission, but will work in the best interest of the country.”

He also cautioned against establishing more regions and constituencies, questioning the socio-economic impact that would have.

Shixwameni said the creation of more regions and constituencies would fragment smaller regions, and he suggested that more regional governors and councillors would cost the country more than what is prudent.

Having said that, he also urged that regions be given more power to give credence to the government’s policy of decentralisation.

DTA MP Phillemon Moongo also stressed that the commission must not create “tribal boundaries” and must act in good faith in the public interest.

Swapo Party MP Paulus Kapia said the commission should consider redrawing the boundaries of towns that were “cut in half” during previous exercises.

Angelina Muharukua and Doreen Sioka both advocated for parts of Caprivi and Kunene previously alienated from those regions to be given back to them.

Debate on the appointment of the commissioners is to continue in Parliament.

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