22 February 2013

Namibia: Opposition Wants More Constituencies

Windhoek — The United Democratic Front (UDF) and the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) have made submissions in which they propose additional constituencies to be added to the Erongo Region.

The two political parties jointly submitted a proposal to divide the Karibib and Dâures constituencies in the region into additional constituencies.

According to the Erongo Regional Governor Cleophas Mutjavikua, the two parties submitted the proposals to the Delimitation Commission, which visited the region on Wednesday.

The two parties want the Otjimbingwe settlement, which is currently part of the Karibib Constituency to become a separate constituency. They further want the Omatjete Constituency to be divided into two, proposing Omatjete to be on its own, while Okombahe and Uis could become one constituency.

However, Mutjavikua is not completely at ease with the newly proposed arrangements, especially with regard to the division of the Omatjete Constituency. "The moment you divide Dâures in that manner, you have a tribal issue and we don't want tribal issues," Mutjavikua cautioned.

The governor feels politics might also be at play, since the parties are hoping to manipulate the constituencies, in order to improve their chances for electoral victories.

Traditionally, Omatjete was a Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) stronghold, while Okombahe and Uis were UDF strongholds, which they both lost to Swapo Party during the last elections.

Mutjavikua noted that the three villages/settlements are very close to each other and can be serviced from one point, as is currently the case. "The population of Dâures is within the norms of the constitution and it might not make sense to do that. It is still reasonable and service provision is okay," the governor said.

With regard to Otjimbingwe, Mutjavikua does not see any tribal considerations at play, but feels separating the area from the Karibib Constituency cannot be justified, taking the small population, as well as the proximity to Karibib, into account.

He however does not dispute the submissions, but merely urged the political parties, traditional authorities and communities to motivate their submissions strongly. "We are prepared to engage everybody. This is not our final decision, but we have to guard against certain issues like the tribal and divisive mentality," the governor reiterated.

Mutjavikua said all Erongo residents were informed about the meeting, which took place on Wednesday. He further urged the communities to continue submitting their proposals through the council or directly to the Delimitation Commission.

The fourth Delimitation Commission appointed by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, started with its public consultation meetings last week in the Kavango Region, and will end in the Oshikoto Region on April 23, 2013.

The commission is an independent and impartial institution constituted for the purpose of recommending changes to regional boundaries, creating new regions, or dividing regions into constituencies if needed. The commission will visit all 13 regions and interested parties are allowed to make oral or written presentations, which may be handed or e-mailed to the commission.

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