President Hifikepunye Pohamba announced at State House yesterday that he accepted recommendations by the 4th Delimitation Commission to split the Kavango Region in two by creating the Kavango East and Kavango West regions, bringing the number of political regions in the country to fourteen.
Moreover, the President also accepted the renaming of two regions, namely the Caprivi Region, which will henceforth be known as the Zambezi Region, while the Karas Region will be known as the !Karas Region to fulfill the wishes of residents and traditional and political leaders.
The wide-sweeping recommendations were made by the 4th Delimitation Commission headed by Judge Alfred Siboleka and included former Director General of the National Planning Commission and Ambassador to Brussels, Zedekia Ngavirue, and the Statistician-General Dr Jonathan Steytler. Other recommendations included name changes to constituencies and areas, which had their original pre-colonial indigenous names restored.
The President announced that he considered and accepted the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission in terms of Section 5 Sub-section 3 of the Regional Councils Act of 1992, as amended. The President also announced that the proclamation containing his decision on the recommendations shall be published in the Government Gazette today. In terms of Section 5 Sub-section 4 of the Regional Councils Act, elections in respect of the newly created regions and constituencies will only be held in the next regional council elections.
He invited all stakeholders to carefully study the new development, saying the third national voters' roll will be based on the new arrangements. "This will contribute to the credible, transparent, free and fair National Assembly and Presidential elections next year since all stakeholders will have sufficient time to scrutinise the voters' roll," he said.
The President directed the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to start working on the new voters' roll without delay. "As has been the case in the past, we are determined to ensure that the forthcoming elections reflect the will of the nation," he said in respect of the third national voters' roll.
Further, he confirmed that Lüderitz Constituency would be renamed ≠Naminüs Constituency, which was the original name of the area. "This includes the current town of Lüderitz. I have also accepted the recommendation of the Commission that Steinhausen Constituency be renamed Okarukambe Constituency which was the original name of the area," he announced. Schuckmannsburg in the Zambezi Region has been renamed to Luhonono, which was the original name of the area. "I therefore direct that our official new maps must indicate the original name of Luhonono." President Pohamba also acknowledged the Commission's recommendation to create 14 new constituencies in the following regions and their development centres as indicated below:
1. Opuwo Rural
2. Ondangwa Urban
4. Nehale lyaMpingana
5. Kavango East
5. Ndonga Linena
6. Judea Lyaboloma
7. Kabbe South
10. Karasburg West
9. Kavango West
Other adjustments Pohamba accepted from the Commission were changes to the boundaries of a number of constituencies in regions such as Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Zambezi, Kavango East, Kavango West, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, Khomas, Hardap and !Karas.
According to the President the delimitation of the country into regions and constituencies, as well as adjustments of the existing constituency boundaries will go a long way in bringing services closer to the people. "I am fully aware that there are those who will analyse my decision in the context of cost. Remember, those who complain that education is expensive - our standard response is that they should try ignorance. Equally, those who complain that democracy is expensive, I say to them they should try chaos, anarchy, instability and disharmony. Very soon they will realise that democracy no matter how expensive is by far the better option," he said. The President was also at pains to point out that the delimitation exercise is linked to the national voters' roll and forms part of the government's efforts to make the work of the ECN easier so that it can produce a credible, transparent and verifiable national voters' roll.