Constituency Week comes to a halt in Gobabis

13 Apr 2016 19:00pm
GOBABIS, 13 APR (NAMPA) - Constituency Week came to an abrupt halt at Gobabis on Wednesday when some councillors complained of being treated unfairly by the Omaheke Regional Council.
Some councillors and members of the Constituency Development Committee (CDC) have complained of not having been afforded decent accommodation, while communication with organisers is apparently unprofessional.
All attendees are accommodated at the Tsjaka Ben-Hur Centre, some 50 kilometres outside Gobabis.
Speaking to Nampa on Wednesday, a representative of the Otjinene Youth Forum Jamanuka Mbaisa fumed at what he termed “unprofessional” behaviour by the organisers.
“Nobody came to us to even just tell us that they are experiencing problems or anything. All you see is just them going behind the building and having short meetings, and the next thing you see is them smiling and not saying anything.”
The event was attended by over 70 councillors, youth leaders and CDC members, who were Wednesday stranded at the Office of the Omaheke Regional Council because an expected activity did not take place.
The group is receiving training throughout this week, which has since the complaints and uncomfortable atmosphere been halted.
On Wednesday they were supposed to attend a community enterprise exhibition as part of the event, which also did not take place.
On Thursday, visits to development projects are scheduled where the councillors along with CDC members will be visiting various infrastructural projects in their constituencies, to deliberate on the progress and challenges they face.
On Friday, they will have an 'Open-Door Day', where councillors will be available to hear the concerns of the community.
Some, however, threatened not to attend any activities of any future Constituency Weeks, after it was announced that it will be an annual event on the calendar of the National Council (NC).
“If I have to come any other time in future, then they must pay us in advance, otherwise I will not come,” said Mbaisa.
Another member of the CDC, Mbatemua Kamatjipose, who is also the Gobabis Youth Chairperson, narrated similar concerns of unfair treatment from the organisers.
“Why do they not just come to us and tell us what the problem is instead of running around and making promises that they cannot fulfil? No councillor has attended to us and we have not even eaten anything since this morning,” she stressed.
Approached for comment, Chairperson of Constituency Week in the Omaheke Region Raphael Mokaleng could not to respond.
“We are in a meeting now, so we cannot talk to you,” he said.
Omaheke Regional Council Chairperson Ignatius Khariseb told Nampa there was a lack of funds for the event’s preparation, as the only money they received thus far for the entire event is a mere N.dollars 5 000.
“There was a serious delay from the National Council and we (regional council) even had to pay for transport and accommodation of the councillors. We had to use funds that were budgeted for other activities,” said Khariseb.
He said the event will proceed as anticipated, despite the teething concerns from those in attendance.
Constituency Week was launched nationally by Chairperson of the NC Margaret Mensah-Williams in the capital on Monday, forming a nationwide initiative by the Namibia Institute for Democracy (NID); the National Council (NC) and the Namibia Institute for Public Administration and Management (Nipam) that organised the five-day initiative commemorated in all 14 regions. The event aims to “bring the elected closer to those who voted for them”.
The initiative’s overall objective is to support bottom-up decentralisation by strengthening interaction between communities, and local and regional authorities through constituency development committees.