By William Mbangula OSHAKATI The Mayor of Ongwediva, Erastus Uutoni, was elected President of the Namibia National Mayor’s Forum (NNMF) at its week-long Annual General Meeting (AGM) recently held at Ongwediva. He succeeded former mayor of Walvis Bay, King Mandume Muatunga, who has now become an honorary President of the Association “in recognition of his contribution as the first President,” of the Association. Uutoni is deputized by the Mayor of Mariental, Priscilla Beukes. Other members of the Executive Management Committee are the Mayor of Walvis Bay, Derek Klaasen; the Mayor of Grootfontein, Rapama Kamehozu; the Mayor of Windhoek, Matheus Shikongo; Emilia Amupewa, the Mayor of LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz; and Rosina Hoabes, the Mayor of Swakopmund. In his address to the media on the outcome of the meeting,Uutoni said the following resolutions were taken at the meeting: – that given the various concerns raised by the respective municipalities on the issue of Electricity Industry Restructuring, the AGM resolved to petition the Head of State in an effort to address and reverse the adverse financial and human resources implications that the outsourcing of energy departments have on local authorities; – that basic legal training be arranged for councillors to allow them to grasp the technical and intricate legal language contained in the Local Authorities Act No.23 of 1992; – that the AGM endorses the introduction of the Executive Mayoral system in all local authorities in Namibia. However, the detailed submission will soon be made to the Minister of Regional and Local Government Housing and Rural Development for his consideration; – the AGM also resolved to make its inputs on aspects affecting Mayors and local authorities during the planned Road Shows to be conducted by the Local Authorities Reform Committee (LARC) chaired by its Honorary President King Mandume Muatunga. According to Uutoni, the AGM that took place last week deliberated on various challenges in their respective institutions, among others, the following: – the improved service delivery and quality leadership which should form the cornerstone, among other priorities; – shortcomings in the electricity sector through RED’s that have become a serious concern to the local authorities and needs urgent review “before municipalities are worse off”; – the issue of good governance focusing on the pivotal principles of accountability, transparency, participation and equity; – decentralization of services to local authorities, irrespective of size and capacity, should only be done when adequate funds are made available by the government. However, the private institutions are also urged to make meaningful contributions to shoulder the development efforts by providing financial assistance to local authorities for infrastructural development; – the AGM further deliberated on the review of Act 23 of 1992 as amended which, in the views of the participants, is still the stumbling block in the implementation of the activities of local authorities. “Based on the above issues, the Mayors, as political heads of their respective institutions, have a role to play by developing strategic plans in order to enable them to define goals and objectives of what they want to achieve and within a prescribed time frame,” Uutoni noted.