RDP demands public attend Eenhana council meetings

24 Mar 2016 10:30am
ONGWEDIVA, 24 MAR (NAMPA) – Eenhana Town Council in the Ohangwena Region is accused of denying members of the public the opportunity to attend its ordinary council meetings.
Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) councillor on the Eenhana Town Council, Walter Ndakondja said this in a telephonic interview with Nampa earlier this week.
Ndakondja told this news agency that in their ordinary council meeting held on 27 January this year, he tabled a motion demanding the residents of Eenhana to be afforded an opportunity to attend council’s meetings.
According to him, all other members rejected his motion since it came from him, who is the only council member from an opposition party.
All six members of the seven-member Eenhana Town Council are from the ruling Swapo Party.
In moving the motion, Ndakondja said he wants residents of Eenhana, as the electorate, to observe the council meetings.
The RDP councillor believes, should residents be allowed to attend council meetings, they will not only take ownership of council activities but would also embrace the notion of “our council”.
He is also of the opinion that, allowing residents to observe council deliberations will give them a clear understanding of how council operates and thereby reduce uncertainty and ambiguity on council.
“If council permits residents to view how their councillors deliberate on the issues pertaining to their development, they not only gain confidence in their councillors, but they would also have trust in them (councillors),” Ndakondja cited.
Such practice, he added, would both enhance democracy and consolidate openness, accountability and transparency.
Approached for comment, the Mayor of Eenhana and Chairperson of the council, Julia Shikongo cited the absence of an appropriate venue as the reason her council is unable to allow public attendance.
“All the venues we have here are not reliable, hence the difficulties for us to invite the residents to attend our council meetings,” Shikongo replied.
She went on to say her councillors used to go to town residents at their respective wards to listen to their concerns and/or to introduce the programmes of the council.
“We have a free-of-charge community hall here with enough space. Therefore the absence of sufficient venue is just a mere excuse,” Ndakondja counter argued.
Eenhana, Helao Nafidi and Okongo are the three local authorities in the Ohangwena Region.