Namibia: Councillor Operating From Vehicle for Five Years

21 January 2020

Tsintsabis — The regional councillor for Guinas constituency, Betty Kaula, will be completing her full five-year term without an administrative office to operate from. Kaula, who is now known as the moving office, says she has been operating from her vehicle, considering that she has no place to settle and do administrative activities.

The councillor said the situation has negatively affected the constituency's development and hinders the efficient running of the constituency, as some of her officials are squatting at the Oshivelo settlement office. Oshivelo falls under the new constituency of Nehale Lya Mpingana, which was established following the 2013 Delimitation Commission.

The constituency borders the constituencies of Guinas, Omuthiyagwiipundi constituency, Eengodi, and Okankolo. Guinas was left with no administrative office of its own, as its previous administration centre at Oshivelo now falls under another constituency. She said Guinas was the only constituency in the country without a regional constituency office. She added plans to construct a new office at Tsintsabis were shelved because of budgetary constraints. "The regional office was given a portion of land by the Ministry of Land Reform in Tsintsabis which they were demarcating last year and we wait patiently to get development," she said. Speaking of the challenges in her constituency, Kaula said that majority of the people are plagued into extreme poverty with little to no job opportunities. Other social problems include lack of potable water and access to electricity.

The councillor was also not impressed with delays of the implementation of the Constituency Development Fund Bill, which is still to be passed in parliament. The proposed bill is expected to financially assist the development of all 121 constituencies in the country's 14 regions. The fund will enable constituency offices to have its budget and manage funds, as opposed to now when funds are centralised to central government through regional councils.

"We as councillors are often blamed for lack of development and that we are not working and doing anything for our people, but that is not the case. The budget is not in our hands to use as we wish. Our hope is for constituencies to get their budget to solve their problems.

Challenges differ per constituency and as such our own budget will enable us to address what we consider to be a priority. Instead of the status quo when activities compete, and someone out there decides what is important and what is not for your people," she reiterated.

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