Councillors demand ‘true’ empowerment

Several National Council members are demanding the finalisation and enactment of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), saying it is only through it that their respective constituencies will realise true empowerment.

This was the general feeling among councilors who spoke to Nampa on Tuesday, who said currently, their hands are tight without a budget at their disposal.

First to speak to Nampa was Swapo councilor for the Kabbe Constituency in the Zambezi Region, John Likando, that the CDF Bill should be enacted as a matter of urgency.

The draft law was channeled by the National Council to the National Assembly in 2015 to empower the local communities at constituency level, with resources, to design and implement development projects with a positive impact for each community.

What we want is to address issues that need our immediate attention especially when it comes to issues such as the distribution of drought relief supplies, rightly to say it is now administered in the Office of the Prime Minister but this is quite bureaucratic in terms of implementation and equally, to the issue of veld fires and dealing with the destitute members of society, he said.

Asked if constituencies have the internal capacity to handle the CDF prudently, he replied: Why should we fail to account? We see resources even at the national level goes unaccounted for, why should they have no trust in us?

National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) vice president and councilor for the Aminius Constituency Peter Kazongominja echoed similar sentiments to those of Likando.

We are not asking to be given a budget of N.dollars 100 million. If each constituency gets N.dollars 5 or N.dollars 6 million annually, after 10 years, we would have sufficiently developed all these constituencies. I don't understand what the holdup is about regarding the CDF Bill. The development will benefit all Namibians, irrespective of who is at the forefront, he said.

Cornelius Kanguatjivi, the Swapo councilor of Epukiro Constituency in the Omaheke Region mooted that the current practice which sees government dish out fishing rights to individuals rather than to regional councils is a great disservice to the nation as it empowers only a select few.

If you give fishing quotas to each region, we will benefit equally as a country. That will be the true meaning of equal distribution of wealth or resources. But as we speak, it the ministers, governors and few well-connected individuals who have access to fishing quotas. It cannot be right, he said.

He also said it was time the government reviewed contracts it has with companies doing mining activities in Namibia, to ensure that the country's mineral resources benefit the masses.

Source: Namibia Press Agency