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More regions propose splitting

2024-06-11  Correspondent

More regions propose splitting

Paulina Ndalikokule


ONGWEDIVA – A growing number of residents and organisations are calling for the creation of new regions and constituencies to accelerate development planning, and strengthen governance at the regional and local level.

In April, President Nangolo Mbumba appointed the fifth Boundaries Delimitation and Demarcation Commission (BDDC) under acting justice Petrus Unengu. The commission is responsible for delimiting and demarcating the internal boundaries of Namibia’s regions, constituencies and local authorities, and to recommend their names.

He emphasised that the commissioners have three months ahead of elections to deliver valuable insights which would greatly assist the work of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to facilitate the registration of eligible voters in their correct regions and constituencies.

Mbumba added that government had taken note that the country had now passed the three-million population mark. Therefore, the commission’s work would provide valuable insights into the changing demographics, comprising the youth majority.

Last week, Oshana governor Elia Irimari handed over proposed boundary changes and amendments to the chairperson of the BDCC.

At a two-day meeting with the public, councillors and traditional authorities proposed the introduction of three additional constituencies, increasing the number from 11 to 14 constituencies in the Oshana region.

The regional leadership wants a new constituency to be established in Ongwediva to serve the town and its residents, while renaming the current constituency to Onamutai. 

The latest census figures  issued by the Namibia Statistics Agency say there are 230 801 people in the Oshana region.

Meanwhile, a meeting called to discuss the fate of the Ohangwena region was not fruitful as the leaders and a few public members in attendance could not agree on common ground.

Some traditional leaders want Ohangwena split into two regions, with the other named Onalumono.

Ohangwena regional governor Sebastian Ndeitunga told New Era that councillors must do more research and consultations with the communities if they are to come up with a decision that would benefit the majority of the people.

Ohangwena has a population of 337 729, the second-highest after the Khomas region. 

Ndeitunga said more constituencies are required in areas which have a lot of villages, and are far from basic services. 

“The law says a region must have a minimum of six constituencies, and a maximum of 12 constituencies. We already have 12 constituencies, which is why some people are proposing that a new region be established, although some were against it,” he said.

Meanwhile, concerned groups from the Oshikoto region have proposed the establishment of a new region comprising parts of the Oshana, Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions, saying this would increase service delivery to the region’s 257 302 inhabitants.

The Oshikoto residents submitted a proposal during the BDDC meeting held at Omuthiya last Tuesday. They suggested that the new region be named Oshikoto West.

The group, led by activist Acktofel Uugulu, said the creation of such a region would benefit Ondangwa because it has a large population, and has grown over the years to become a central point for people’s many daily needs.

“Ondangwa is fully-developed, with almost all urban infrastructure and a number of unutilised government buildings, which could be the regional headquarters of the suggested Oshikoto West region,” Uugulu said.

The proposal outlined that the new region could consist of the Onayena, Olukonda and Oniipa constituencies in Oshikoto; the Omulonga and South West Eenhana constituencies of Ohangwena; as well as the Otyali, Uukwiyuushona, Okaku and Ondangwa Rural constituencies in the Oshana region.

The group submitted that people from these constituencies have to travel long distances to their regional capitals to access governors’ offices, saying they often miss out on opportunities and information because of the long distances.

“The new region will bring public institutions, services and goods closer to the people in these respective constituencies,” said Uugulu.

However, former deputy information minister Engel Nawatiseb, a resident of the Oshikoto region, was not swayed. “We distance ourselves from talk of a new Oshikoto West region as the Omuntele Youth Forum proposes, because as current tenants of the Oshikoto region, the only legacy we will leave behind would be the under-development of our Tsumeb and Guinas constituencies.

Our demand is to separate the Tsumeb and Guinas constituencies from Oshikoto – not to demarcate Oshikoto into two regions. The best option that could benefit the Tsumeb and Guinas constituencies is when comrade President Mbumba approves the inclusion of both constituencies to be part of the proposed new region which should be created to include the northern section of the Etosha National Park, Otavi, Kombat, Grootfontein, Tsumkwe, Gam, Koblenz, Otjituuo and others to divide the vast Otjozondjupa region into two.

“In so doing, that consideration would have achieved the objective of consolidating the cosmopolitan strength of the three main constituencies of Tsumeb, Grootfontein and Otavi,” he said in an opinion piece published by this paper last Friday.

In 2013, the Kavango region was divided into two, and just last month, Kavango East submitted a proposal for the division of the region into two more regions, and the creation of additional constituencies. With a population of 218 421, this would bring the total number of constituencies to 20. 

The residents emphasised that they want to address the region’s overpopulation, and improve access to services.

The Omusati region hosted its meeting yesterday, and governor Erginus Endjala declined to comment as he had just entered the meeting.

“We will listen to the public reaching common ground, and give our proposal to the commission,” he said.

The Omusati region has a population of 316 671.

Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu urged his region’s inhabitants to stay calm while they await the response of the fifth BDDC to their proposals.

In an interview on Friday, he said he could not say when the feedback would be received, but they expect a response soon.

The Zambezi region has eight constituencies. But during consultations with the commission at Katima Mulilo last month, suggestions were made for the addition of three more constituencies, with a Bwabwata constituency being a particularly desired addition.

This proposed constituency would start from the Okavango River, extending eastwards.

Proposals were also received for Kabbe South to be changed to Ishuwa constituency, and for the Judea Lyaboloma constituency to be changed to the Linyanti West constituency.

There were likewise proposals for Katima Rural to be divided into three constituencies. 

Meanwhile, Sampofu said demarcating new constituencies will not only allow the voice of the community to be heard, but will also assist constituency councillors to reach all community members.

“We have seen in the past that some councillors did not reach some parts of the constituencies, as they say the constituencies are vast and people are too far apart,” he added.

-Additional reporting by Nampa


Proposal… Inhabitants of the Zambezi region speaking during the 5th Boundaries Delimitation and Demarcation Commission last week in Katima Mulilo, Zambezi region.

Photo Nampa


2024-06-11  Correspondent

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