11 Aug 2017 12:30pm
TSUMKWE, 11 AUG (NAMPA) Nearly 900 government officials, regional and local authority councillors from all 14 regions on Thursday gathered at Tsumkwe to celebrate Africa Day of Decentralisation and Local Development.
The day was commemorated with a street march led by members of the Namibian Police Force, as well as cultural performances and exhibitions of government services and products at the Tsumkwe sports field.
Tsumkwe settlement is situated over 270 kilometres east of Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Governors of the Kavango East, Oshana, //Kharas, Hardap and Kunene also attended the event held under the theme, Equal opportunities, socio-economic empowerment and youth participation in local governance and local development in Africa.
Otjozondjupa Governor Otto Ipinge said the 55 member states of the African Union (AU) are guided by the objectives and principles enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act to hold an annual commemoration of the African Day of Decentralisation and Local Development on 10 August each year.
Ipinge defined decentralisation as the transfer of power, responsibilities, capacities and resources from national levels to the sub-national governments.
The aim is to strengthen peoples participation and consequently the quality of government services they receive.
Ipinge said Otjozondjupa is serious about decentralisation, adding that it is for this reason the regional leadership identified Tsumkwe as the venue for the 2017 commemorations.
Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Sophia Shaningwa in the keynote address said AU member states in 2014 adopted and started to ratify the African Charter on the values and principles of decentralisation, local governance and local development.
The charter is aimed at serving as a continental instrument that promotes, strengthens and consolidates decentralisation, local governance and local development.
Shaningwa said Namibia ratified the same charter in December 2016, adding that Namibia will be consistent in joining the rest of Africa in commemorating the day.
She said so far, the Namibian government has decentralised four ministries functions to regional councils: Ministry of Land Reform decentralised the function of resettlement to all 14 regional councils; Ministry of Information and Communications Technology decentralised its print and audio-visual media production functions; Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture decentralised the primary and secondary education functions, including the adult learning and library services; Ministry of Works and Transports decentralised its maintenance of government properties and annual tender management functions.
The Ohangwena Region will be host the event next year.