By Petronella Sibeene
The Government yesterday launched a website on the decentralisation reform process in a bid to improve public participation by Namibians at grassroots level in national issues.
Decentralisation is meant to empower people living in the regions (local authorities and regional councils) by giving them the power to influence decisions that affect their daily lives.
Once decentralisation is fully implemented, a number of basic services will be planned for and provided by regional councils and local authorities instead of line ministries.
Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, John Pandeni, yesterday said experience has shown that weak communication and insufficient information is one of the challenges that hamper the successful implementation of decentralisation.
He said this is a mammoth multi-dimensional process that demands consultation, re-alignment, education, information sharing, debate and consensus building.
“We have the best programmes, the best intentions, the best plans, but if they are not communicated to the public and beneficiaries and if they do not actively take part and give us feedback, what is it all worth?” asked the Minister.
The establishment of the website, Pandeni added will help communicate the benefits of decentralisation, generate public discourse, participation and interest, and ensure commitment to the implementation of the reforms through raising awareness and understanding.
“We believe that through the website, we will be able to reach many of our targeted stakeholders involved in the implementation process,” Pandeni said.
The website provides detailed information on decentralisation and its related programmes; provides regional and local government institutions with useful information and downloadable tools needed to improve their activities and offers an exchange and discussion forum.
The Minister said with most offices and agencies equipped with modern Internet facilities, information on this initiative will be readily available and easily accessible.
Since the inception of the Decentralisation Policy in 1997, effort has been made in creating an enabling environmentǟ