New terms of reference for governors

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WINDHOEK – Unlike in the past when the terms of reference for governors were not so well defined, President Hage Geingob on Friday laid down what he expects from all 14 governors – with the introduction of an annual ‘state of the region’ address the most notable task.

Geingob made public the terms of reference on Friday when he appointed six new governors. The conditions of employment of governors are perked at the level of a deputy minister.

The appointments also saw long-serving governors such as Otjozondjupa’s Samuel Nuuyoma and Kunene governor Joshua Hoebeb being snubbed. They were replaced by Otto Iipinge and Angelike Muharukua respectively.

The eleven terms of reference include, amongst others, responsibilities such as settling disputes in the regions, coordinating functions relevant to local and traditional authorities, to conduct investigations related to the regions if requested by the president or Minister of Urban and Rural Planning, and any other duties as assigned by cabinet members, the director general or attorney general.

A first in Namibia, governors will from now on be expected to deliver a state of the region address once a year to report on how the region is doing.

The new governors are Esme Isaack (Hardap), Lucia Basson (Karas), Angelika Muharukua (Kunene), Erkki Endjala (Omusati), Henock Kankoshi (Oshikoto) and Otto Iipinge (Otjozondjupa).

Laura McLeod-Katjirua maintains her position as Khomas governor, making her the first person to serve as a member of parliament and governor.

McLeod-Katjirua’s fate as governor was in doubt and for some months it was not clear whether she ceased being a governor because she is an MP. The Khomas Regional Council even held a farewell ceremony in her honour last month.

With the continued appointment of governors by the President, Namibians continue to pressure government to consider a system whereby regional governors are elected by inhabitants of each region.

Critics have in the past claimed that governors are more aligned to pleasing the appointing authority instead of the general populace – mainly due to the fact that they have been appointed and not elected.

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