Taking Parliament to the People

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By Frederick Philander MARIENTAL The Speaker of the National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab has expressed his satisfaction with the success of his outreach programme to take Parliament closer to the people. Gurirab has been touring the Hardap and Karas regions. “This is the very best way to interact with the people regarding the functions of the National Assembly. This is a classic case of if the mountain will not come to Mohammed, then Mohammed will go to the mountain. This platform provides a unique opportunity to the people to express the problems, hopes, fears and aspirations directly to their elected representatives.” According to him, the delegation will continue identifying weaknesses of government operations as they pertain to the country’s people. “We are not here in the regions to judge anybody, but to listen to the problems of the people and make sure that civil servants and even ministers do a proper job with regard to consultations with the people on the ground about their daily needs,” he said. The governors of both the Erongo and Hardap regions during the video conference agreed that the government’s much talked-about decentralization plan had been a slow and tedious process due to many problems that delayed it. “Unpreparedness by the regions had been one of the major obstacles of regional councils in the implementation of the government’s decentralization scheme. Among the many problems, a shortage of skilled staff and a lack of proper human resources prevented the decentralization process to be speedily implemented,” said Governor Samuehl Nuuyoma of the Erongo Region. Governor of Hardap, Katrina Hanse, was of the opinion that the decentralization policy was developing at too a slow pace and that it showed many weaknesses and ups and downs to the detriment of the people. “The slow progress is not what the people expected. However, central government and the regional governments should work together to get the plan properly off the ground if we are to make progress. We in the Hardap Region need infrastructure, human resources as well as funding, but it requires political will to properly implement decentralization whereby the people will be able to properly govern themselves,” Hanse said.