Decentralisation absolutely critical – Katjavivi

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George Sanzila
Rundu

A raft of concerns such as the slow pace of decentralisation, the lack of access to potable water, lack of care for the elderly and the non-payment of building contractors were aired during the outreach meeting by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, in Kavango East Region.

On Tuesday Katjavivi met with the regional leadership and residents of Kavango East as part of his oversight mandate to keep stock of development efforts in the country.

The Speaker’s outreach programme, which began on Monday in the region, is centred on issues related to early child development, social welfare, education and skills development in tandem with the broader theme of “Parliament for social development”, which encompasses his regional visits.

Katjavivi summed up the issue of decentralisation saying it has been part of robust debate for a number of years but it is about time it is fully implemented to enhance easy access to basic services.
“Decentralisation is absolutely critical and has been part of the debate for a number of years. Before it is fully implemented it would also require capacity building. I hope those responsible for it would drive the process much faster.  We are going to take it up in the report that we are going to compile as part of our findings,” underlined Katjavivi.

He noted the growing chorus of concerns related to non-payment of contractors that has resulted in hundreds of job losses countrywide and the bankruptcy of some contractors.
He reiterated the need to improve the welfare of elderly citizens and lay a strong foundation for the education of children in the form of early childhood development centres.

According to the Speaker, legal frameworks already exist for the creation of these centres and are only awaiting implementation.

“Our elderly people have been abandoned and they need to be cared for. We need to have a volunteerism culture and start caring for our senior citizens. In terms of early childhood development centres a law was enacted that highlights the importance of these centres that lay a firm foundation for our children. We need to ask ourselves what Kavango East has done in terms of implementation.”

It also came to light during a closed door meeting with the regional leadership that many early childhood development centres in the region lack proper infrastructure and are often run on a voluntary basis, resulting in high staff turnover and affecting the learning outcome. Many people particularly in remote areas also lack potable water for their livestock.

• George Sanzila is the chief information officer in the division: research, information, publications and editorial services at the National Assembly.

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