The outcome of the regional council and local authority elections has been quite interesting judging by results announced yesterday.
Although at the time of penning this, the results in all 116 contested constituencies were not yet confirmed, the shape of the final results is clear.
The ruling party will maintain its control over Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, the two Kavango regions, Oshikoto as well as some parts of Otjozondjupa and Omaheke.
As widely expected, key battlegrounds such as Keetmanshoop Urban and Rural, Karasburg East, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay Rural and Urban as well as various constituencies in Khomas, Kunene and Zambezi have been taken over by the opposition.
The Landless People’s Movement especially performed well in its traditional strongholds in the south, while Dr Panduleni Itula’s Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) also turned heads at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
There has also been a relatively good showing by the United Democratic Front in Kunene where they toppled Swapo to regain Kamanjab and Khorixas constituencies, while retaining Daures in Erongo region.
The Popular Democratic Movement has also cemented its grip over some parts of Kunene, including winning Epupa and Opuwo Rural constituencies.
Although Swapo will most likely continue to control a majority of the 57 local authorities, it will, however, play second fiddle in some towns where the opposition are clearly the majority.
This means it will not be able to dictate outcomes, simply because the party does not command a majority in some of the local authorities.
For neutral observers, the tense competition will likely lead to strengthened accountability systems. Our hope is that political parties will do everything possible to co-exist and bring the much-needed development and provision of services to the citizenry. For far too long, local authorities and regional councils have become a hotbed of infighting. This is not sustainable.
At the end of the day, it is the local government’s service delivery programmes that suffer due to escalating factional fighting among those entrusted with the responsibility of championing bread and butter issues.
Development should be allowed to continue unhindered at regional and local authorities.
The incoming councillors should be at the forefront of supporting government initiatives, including accelerating urban land delivery, fixing issues of governance and ensuring that basic services such as water and electricity are timeously delivered to residents.
It is true, there are many other factors and obstacles that may impede the successful implementation of basic services.
However, the new councillors can ill afford to allow egos to rule the roost, whilst compromising service delivery due to the electorate. Our leaders should be able to work together and display political maturity and mutual cooperation in the best interest of society.