Action Coalition wants Delimitation Commission's report released

03 Sep 2013 11:40
WINDHOEK, 03 SEP (NAMPA) - The Action Namibia Coalition has called on President Hifikepunye Pohamba to release the fourth Delimitation Commission's report on changes to the country's constituencies and regions.
On 08 August this year, President Pohamba announced that Namibia now has 14 regions, while 14 new constituencies have been created and two regions and two constituencies, renamed.
This was based on the recommendations of the fourth Delimitation Commission which comprises Judge Alfred Siboleka, Dr Zedekia Ngavirue and Dr Jonathan Steytler.
The changes have however not been well received by everyone, with especially Lüderitz residents being vocal about the news.
It was at first understood that their town’s name would be changed to !Nami#nus along with that of the Lüderitz Constituency.
Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) Chairperson Sacky Shanghala has however since told Nampa the issue was misunderstood as the name change only applies to the Lüderitz Constituency.
Pohamba said while making the announcement he has “accepted the commission’s recommendation that Lüderitz Constituency be renamed !Nami#nus Constituency which was the original name of the area. This includes the current town of Lüderitz”.
Some inhabitants of the former Caprivi (now Zambezi) Region have also expressed their unhappiness at their region’s new name, saying they were not asking whether they support the name change or not.
In a statement availed to this news agency on Tuesday, Action Namibia Coalition member Graham Hopwood urged the President to release the report of the Delimitation Commission as soon as possible, and to ensure that Namibia’s laws and procedures are compliant with international standards and best practice. He said this would enable citizens to have meaningful access to information that concerns their everyday lives and has an important bearing on national development.
“Since the announcement was made, the report of the Delimitation Commission - on which the President's decisions were based - has not been released to the public, despite such requests from the media and civil society,” Hopwood said.
He noted that the President did not provide any detailed reasons for the changes, but said they were broadly aimed at bringing services to the people and were part and parcel of the exercise of democracy in Namibia.
Hopwood said delimitation is a fundamental part of the democratic process in that it is inextricably linked to the election of representative local, regional and national authorities.
He added that the delimitation process was a public one, with citizens being called upon to make submissions both directly to the Commission, and at public meetings.
“Hence, it is only logical that the final report of the Commission be a public document. It is therefore of great concern to the Action Namibia Coalition that the Office of the President has so far declined to release the report of the fourth Delimitation Commission. The report should be released to the public as a matter of course in the interests of transparency, accountability and democracy. The President’s decisions based on the Delimitation report have raised a great deal of public interest and debate,” said Hopwood.
He said the debate has been constrained and to some extent undermined by the lack of information about the reasons for the decisions made - which are presumably contained in the report of the Delimitation Commission.