ALAN Wants Legal Status

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By Engel Nawatiseb OUTJO The ALAN Management Committee resolved at its meeting held in Outjo last week to request all its members to submit reports on progress achieved in the establishment of the Regional Electricity Distribution companies (REDs). “We continue to receive problems related to the REDs from many of our members. The City of Windhoek is one case in question. They have decided not to subscribe to any RED unless their concerns are addressed. We know that the city’s stand could thwart the agenda of the RED company in question but our members cannot also be forced into a venture while many answers are outstanding” said //Hoabes. The City of Windhoek has requested the association to become part of the negotiation process when discussing the inclusion of the City of Windhoek as part of the Central RED when these talks resume early next year. The president of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) also announced that the Federation of Canadian Municipalities has agreed to provide funding of more than N$1-million to the association as well as the Namibia Association of Local Authorities Officials (NALAO). Rosina //Hoabes told a media briefing over the weekend that the money would be directed towards projects aimed at strengthening local government association development, organizational capacity development as well as improved communication. The funding follows alleged duplication of activities by ALAN and NALAO in the past that reportedly confused the modus operandi of the associations. ALAN serves the interests of elected councillors and NALAO spearheads activities of appointed officials in local authorities countrywide. “We will equally commission research on the status of decentralization in Namibia and conduct a stakeholder feedback seminar on the research.” She expressed the need for staff and councillors training in their respective roles and responsibilities, the strengthening of local government participatory structures as well as the mainstreaming of gender and HIV and AIDS. She added that the Developing Monitoring and Evaluation Instruments for Local Government Performance is another priority of the association if resources permit in future. //Hoabes noted that the legal recognition of ALAN by Government as a credible role player in local authority governance is long overdue and that special priority be given during the new year (2006) to accelerate the process. She stressed that ALAN is widely recognized on the continent and abroad as the authentic representative of all local authorities in Namibia. Therefore, the continued delay in proclaiming the legal status of the association by Government cannot be tolerated. “We are credible partners in development of our members and other national programmes but we do not feature in any legislative policies of Government. It is a disgrace but there is still room to rectify such oversight,” she noted. She stressed that Government should promote smart partnership with ALAN so that activities and problems faced by its members at sub-national level could be translated for prompt intervention. “We are on the ground and listen to the cries of our members almost on a daily basis. We are very serious when calling for the introduction of executive mayors and fulltime councillors because institutions are seriously undermined due to non-commitment of our members to council affairs. “We want to promote undivided dedication to local authority institutions to enable elected leaders to serve their respective communities diligently and professionally.” //Hoabes also announced that the Mayoral Forum, a body resorting under the association, is tasked to review and propose reforms to the Local Authorities Act of 1992 as amended in 2000 to introduce possible amendments to effect professional service delivery. Another resolution adopted by the committee was the appointment of an independent accountant. The committee approved the formation of a Women Caucus for local authorities in the country. The ALAN president noted that in Namibia the only similar body represents elected women parliamentarians. She added that the role of women in local governance should first be viewed from the role that women play in society.

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