By Engel Nawatiseb WINDHOEK The President of the Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) says her association will appoint a Chief Administration Officer and Programme Officer respectively before mid-February to implement projects of the association. The salaries of the aforementioned officials as well as of those attached to the Namibia Association of Local Authorities Officials (NALAO) would be paid through funding secured from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). Rosina //Hoabes said at the end of a weekend caucus between ALAN and NALAO that positions would be advertised internally and be filled for a temporary period stretching over three months before permanent appointments are announced. Amongst the projects to be implemented are capacity building for staff and councillors, the establishment of a women caucus, the promotion of local economic development in local authorities, advocacy, HIV/AIDS as well as the strengthening of partnerships with other stakeholders, including NALAO and the Association of Regional Councils (ARC). Some of the funds would be directed towards projects aimed at strengthening local government association development as well as improved communication programmes. The funding came in the wake of alleged duplication of activities by ALAN and NALAO in the past that reportedly confused the modus operandi of the duo associations. “This milestone achievement was long overdue, we are thanking FCM for their continued support. I am also encouraging other partners to help build the local authority industry in partnership with ALAN in various dynamics as long as it benefits the entire communities resorting under the jurisdiction of our respective members,” said //Hoabes. ALAN serves the interest of elected councillors and NALAO is spearheading the activities of appointed officials in local authorities countrywide. ” We will equally commission research on the status of decentralization in Namibia and also conduct a stakeholder feedback seminar on the research.” She also 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. The Vice-President of ALAN, Pio Nganate, announced that the association’s Sub-committee on Publicity, Legal Policy and Guidelines also identified some priorities to be tabled to government for serious discussion during February this year. Amongst them feature the recently improved and proposed Conditions of Service for Officials and Local Authority Councillors, the legal recognition of the association as well as issues related to leave of councillors when engaged in council activities. He said the legal recognition of the association by Government to boost the credibility of ALAN as a role player in local authority governance is long overdue and that special priority should be given this year (2006) to accelerate progress. He stressed that ALAN is widely recognized on the continent and abroad as the authentic representatives of all local authorities in Namibia. Therefore, the continued delay in proclaiming the legal status of the association by Government could not be tolerated anymore. Nganate stressed that Government should promote a smart partnership with ALAN so that activities and problems faced by its members at sub-national level could be translated for prompt intervention. The association further endorsed the appointment of consultants to conduct job evaluations of its staff members and implement the long awaited web site (ALAN).
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