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Presidential appointment of governors questioned

2014-08-11  Mathias Haufiku

Presidential appointment of governors questioned

WINDHOEK- Political analyst Professor Joseph Diescho wants lawmakers to review the system of the president having the mandate to appoint regional governors, so that they are more accountable to the people they govern rather than their appointing authority.

Presidential Affairs Minister Dr Albert Kawana however countered that the situation where a governor is an elected councillor will amount to the neglect of either the particular constituency for which that governor was elected or his work as governor.

Diescho said: “This system is not democratic because these appointed governors end up being more accountable to the president than the people they govern.”

“This can fuel conflict between the state and the community as the community may feel that leaders are imposed on them. People must be allowed to elect their leaders,” said Diescho last week while addressing regional and local authority leaders during the commemoration of the Africa Day of Decentralisation and Local Governance and Local Development held in Windhoek.

At present, the Head of State has the prerogative to appoint a political head of his choice for all 14 regions at his own discretion.

Diescho warned that centralisation of power is a dangerous way of ruling and governing a country, adding: “A governor should come from the people themselves and should not be imposed on them.”

“Governors are more common in federal states. Therefore we need to come up with systems that are responsive to our situation so that we can make it possible for our people to participate in the affairs of the regions and the country at large,” said Diescho.

Meanwhile, while motivating the Third Constitution Amendment Bill in the National Assembly last month, Kawana said he is concerned because decentralization is sometimes mistaken for federalism and maintained that the President should be allowed to appoint regional governors becausehe [President] is elected by the populace.

“Namibia is a unitary state. Regions are administrative, not executive in nature. Hence, all that is being done is that the President is appointing his or her representative in the regions,” he said.

Kawana proposed that they [governors] become constitutional office-bearers appointed by the President as the political heads of the regions who will be the link between the central government and the regional council, local authorities and traditional authorities. 

“The President is elected by direct, universal and equal suffrage, by the whole country, in an election where the entire Namibia is one constituency, and since every region is his or her constituency, it is suggested that the President be entitled to appoint a governor for each region to represent him or her,” said the minister.

By Mathias Haufiku

2014-08-11  Mathias Haufiku

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