A lack and an ill-timed release of information from central government hampers some governors to address regional councils on the state of the region as stipulated in the Namibian Constitution Third Amendment Bill of 2014.
According to Article 110A of the Namibian Constitution, subsection 5, a regional governor shall attend a meeting of the regional council of the region for which he or she is the regional governor once every year, which meeting shall occur after the president and Cabinet attend parliament as he delivers the state of the nation address.
Thereafter, the regional governor shall address the regional council on the state of the region, planned activities of the central government in the region, report on the activities of the central government of the previous year in the region and be available to respond to questions.
New Era randomly interviewed some regional governors who are supposed to have held their state of the region address already beginning of May, immediately after President Hage Geingob delivered his state of the nation address in April.
Kavango West’s Sirrka Ausiku admitted she delivered her state of region address very late last year (on August 3) due to lack of information from central government.
She said the region faces a challenge in getting the needed information regarding the progress made in the region.
“Getting information from line ministries is a challenge. I wrote to all the ministries and ministers requesting the information according to the development budget as to whether they implemented all their capital projects earmarked for Kavango West. I am receiving information slowly – one by one from ministries, but some projects are not ready to get off the ground. This year, my deadline is before end of May when I have to do my state of the region address, and those ministries that are not responding, I will just go ahead and report to my appointing authority that I did not get the information,” she said.
Further, she revealed she wrote a letter to the National Tender Board to provide her with statistics of all the tenders that have been awarded for Kavango West projects since last year, but did not get any feedback yet.
Ausiku said that had the needed information been made available to her, she could have made her address immediately after President Hage Geingob finished his state of the nation address in the National Assembly in April.
“They are delaying my state of the region address, because getting the information from central government is a challenge for us,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kavango East regional governor, Samuel Mbambo, admitted that the region failed to deliver a state of region address last year. But this year, he said, he delivered it already last week Friday.
“Last year there were some changes that did not enable us to hold it. Changes such as the new leadership. When you have the address, you need to coordinate with regional councillors and when we wanted to have it, we were informed that they busy preparing or wrapping up some programmes to have a clear picture for the old and new budget. We were told we will be given time, but time lapsed when the new leadership came in so I could not manage to hold it,” he said.
Asked whether it was not in breach of the constitution, he said: “Well, it depends how to approach it because sometimes you don’t have the information. In our case, if it is linked to another body, it is difficult to encroach yourself on that body. It’s not straight from the governor’s side. I am not sure if it’s in breach or not, I am not an expert on that one.”
Zambezi regional governor, Lawrence Sampofu, said he held one last year and he also planned to have this year’s address on Friday (today, May 6).
Hardap regional governor, Esme Isaack, said she failed to deliver the address because of her late appointment.
“I was appointed last year on the 10th of April. I was waiting at least for a year so that I could have enough staff when I talk to my people. For this year, I have been busy working on my statement and as soon as I am done I will notify through the media as to when I will have it,” she said.
Oshikoto regional governor Henock Kankoshi said he could provide evidence that he was one of the first regional governors to hold one on May 8, immediately after the president gave the state of the nation address.
“Last year we did it on 8th of May. If you want that statement, I can even give it to you. I am not in breach of the constitution – I was at the National Council, I know the law,” he noted.
This year, he said, he would do it on Monday, May 16.