Regions prepare to expand constituencies

Hertta-maria Amutenja

Kavango East Regional Council chairperson and Mukwe constituency councillor, Damian Maghambayi, said the region is considering the expansion of constituencies to address evolving demographic needs and enhance representation.

This is in anticipation of the upcoming assessment of regional boundaries by the Boundaries Delimitation and Demarcation Commission under the direction of President Nangolo Mbumba.

During an interview with Windhoek Observer on Monday, Maghambayi highlighted the significance of the exercise, particularly in light of past challenges in demarcating constituencies.

“This exercise is very significant, especially for us in the regions. During the last commission visit, we could not demarcate some constituencies. We only managed to divide the region into two. Last year, in October, the council adopted a motion to restrict some of the constituencies in the region, specifically Mukwe, Mashare and Rundu Urban constituencies,” he said.

In anticipation of the commission’s visit, Maghambayi said the region has appointed a Regional Technical Committee and stressed the importance of thorough preparation.

“What we have done since the adoption of the motion is to appoint a regional Technical committee that will ensure that the committee, together with the council, assists the council in a consultative engagement with the residents of the region before the commission comes. We want to be prepared this time around. We are also considering how we can expand some of our constituencies,” he expressed.

Echoing this sentiment is Oshana Governor Elia Irimari, who emphasised the constitutional obligation to periodically review boundaries.

He stressed the factors considered by the commission, including population growth, geographical distances, and service delivery.

“This is a constitutional obligation that needs to be fulfilled after a certain period. The commission looks at issues like population growth, the distance from one area to another, and service delivery. If the population is more than the required number of a certain area, we are forced to create another region or constituency.”

Mbumba’s recent directive gives the commission three months to complete a report, which is meant to aid the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) in the upcoming elections.

Acting judge Petrus Unengu chairs the commission alongside members Prisca Anyolo, an expert in law and traditional affairs governance, Gerhardt Gurirab, a historian and curator and Penias Topnaar, a teacher and pastor.

In a circular addressed to Regional Council chairpersons on 19 April 2024, Unengu urged collaboration with the Office of the Governor to ensure effective dissemination of information.

“You are requested to liaise and support the Office of the Governor in disseminating information to the members of the public regarding the visit above of the Commission.

Two days are allocated to each region for consultative town hall meetings where oral and written submissions would be presented to the Commission. You are therefore requested to ensure that venue(s) are arranged for such meetings in consultation with the governor’s office,” said Unengu.

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