By Engel Nawatiseb RUACANA The Ruacana Town Council has been urged to draft a strategic plan that would spell out developmental priorities for the village. The new council was established following the recent proclamation of the town alongside Oshikuku in the Omusati Region. In order to encourage development, the Association of Local Autahorities in Namibia (ALAN) commissioned the Namibia Village Council Forum to advise councillors on the workings of local authorities in general. The president of the Forum, Pio Nganate, urged councillors to change their lifestyles in conformity with the status of elected leaders that should lead by example. “We do not expect you to change people’s lifestyles if you are living a deplorable life. People respect councillors because they lead by example and in so doing, command respect from those whom they serve. We all have our past behind us, but let us apply flexibility towards change for the better.” He urged councillors to pursue council’s developmental agenda beyond political lines. Nganate added that political infighting amongst councillors was quite evident in some local authorities and has led to the poor performance of their towns and municipalities. “I have been in local authority governance for very long now and can confidently caution you against politicizing development issues. Development does not know colour. No CoD, no Swapo, no Nudo, no nothing,” said Nganate. The Ruacana Council is dominated by Swapo Party representatives with Nudo being the only opposition party, occupying one seat. Otavi Village Councilor Engelhardtine /Uiras said the newly elected councillors should be role models in their respective communities. “Keep going to the people – if they fail to attend meetings, cry together with them when faced by death, attend weddings and be party to any event organized by your communities – that is what we call networking at social level,” said /Uiras. The Chairperson of the Ruacana Village Council, Linda Mbwale, expressed relief over the visit of the ALAN delegation, noting that many worrying issues relating to local authorities were clarified during the consultative session. Mbwale stated that her council faced multiple developmental challenges including the provision of employment for the “productive” members of her community. She appealed to ALAN to assist her council with resource persons to render advice and other local authority related functions. Mbwale stated that her council would focus on tourism development, considering the great tourism potential that Ruacana holds. The newly elected councillors are tipped to benefit from a workshop that will enable them to gain knowledge on local authority governance, slated for next week.
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