Namibia commemorates Africa Day of Decentralisation

06 Aug 2014 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 06 AUG (NAMPA) - Namibia through the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development joined the rest of the African Union (AU) member states in commemorating the Africa Day of Decentralisation here on Wednesday.
The day has been set aside for all member states of the AU to honour their commitments with respect to the transfer of resources to local governments, as well as to enhance their financial capacities.
In a speech read on his behalf by his Deputy Minister Priscilla Beukes, the Minister of Regional and Local Government Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh said trends at both continental and global level continue to highlight the importance and power of organising development from the bottom up.
He added that trends at both continental and global level also continue to highlight the role regional and local governments play in bringing about and advancing practical sustainable development solutions.
The minister said it is recognised that due to the proximity to the constituents or communities that they serve, Regional and Local Governments are in a better position to identify and address the needs of the people they directly serve.
“It is equally a fact that citizen participation is central to true democratic governance. This view is premised on the understanding that communities have a better understanding of their circumstances in terms of what they need and when and how they need it,” he noted.
As such, it is expected that local communities must be active participants in development planning, priority setting and decision-making on issues that affect their daily lives.
Namoloh explained that decentralisation in its true sense and as conceptualised in the African Charter on Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development as well as in Namibia's Decentralisation Policy and the Decentralisation Enabling Act, means the transfer of functions and related resources from central government to sub-national levels of government with the aim of strengthening the ability of the latter to both foster people's participation and delivery of quality services.
According to the minister, the process of decentralisation however does not only involve the transfer of functions and resources to sub-national level, but it is equally expected that the sub-national governance structures create more room for wider citizen participation and involvement as well as to ensure greater accountability.
The day was held under the theme ‘The African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Government and Local Development: Boosting Sustainable Local Government in Africa.’
The charter takes into consideration the fact that awareness needs to be created around the newly adopted African Charter on Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development and promotes ratification, domestication and implementation by member states by the year 2015.