Parliament Visits North


By Surihe Gaomas RUNDU For the first time, the people of Kavango have gotten a feel of the direct activities, affairs and functions of Parliament. This became a reality when the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Doreen Sioka on Monday kicked off the first day of a two-week long tour of the Kavango and Caprivi regions. The latest visit is part of Parliament’s Outreach Programme which aims at “bringing Parliament closer to the people under the theme: ‘Consulting Constituencies on Service Delivery’. During her first stopover at Kahenge constituency, the Deputy Speaker was accompanied by fellow parliamentarians – former Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Moses Amweelo and Nudo Party MP Asser Mbai. A team from the Secretariat of the National Assembly and the Namibia Democracy Support Centre is also part of the entourage. Sioka met the regional governor, traditional leaders and councillors of the region at the outset of her tour of the region. She said it is vital that all Namibians are aware of the functions and objectives of Parliament, especially as the third organ of the state alongside the Judiciary and the Executive. It is only in this way that the public can feel part and parcel of the law making body of the country. “People should understand that we are with them, the laws we are making in Parliament are part and parcel of this process,” said Sioka when she addressed close to 20 constituency councillors of the Kavango Region. The Outreach Programme aims at making people more aware of Parliament, how the public can gain access to Parliament, its roles and functions and also to gauge how well-versed the public is with the Namibian Constitution. What makes the trip significant is the fact that it expands on the dream of the first Speaker of Parliament, the late MosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Tjitendero. It is known that he not only helped establish the National Assembly and the democratic pillars on which it is anchored, but played a critical role in establishing democracy and parliamentary centres, among them the Namibia Democracy Support Centre. On his part, Governor of the Kavango Region John Thighuru said that the Outreach Programme visit by the Deputy Speaker shows the keen interest the Office of the Speaker has in sub-national government. At the same time, such an undertaking strengthens the relationship between the regional council, the local authority and the traditional authorities in improving satisfactory service delivery to the people. Ultimately this enhances the country’s decentralization process to the grassroots level. “When functions are fully decentralized, the sub-national government will ensure that it delivers satisfactory services on community development and early childhood, administration of villages and settlement areas, rural water supply and management, primary health care and education,” explained Thighuru. During the trip this week, communities in the various constituencies of Kahenge and Kapako received a presentation and at the same time were able to view the law-making body’s website on the Parliament Bus. The Deputy Speaker’s visit will cover eight constituencies in the Kavango Region, before proceeding to the Caprivi Region next week. The latest visit comes shortly after the Speaker of the National Assembly Theo Ben Gurirab conducted a similar tour of the Hardap and Karas regions recently.