Mbumba sets three-month deadline for delimitation commission report

Nangolo Mbumba

President Nangolo Mbumba is giving the Boundaries Delimitation and Demarcation Commission three months to complete a report which would assist the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) with the registration of eligible voters for this year’s election.

Mbumba on Monday appointed members of the commission, which will be chaired by acting judge Petrus Unengu.

The other commissioners are Prisca Anyolo, an expert in law and traditional affairs governance, Gerhardt Gurirab, a historian and curator, and Penias Topnaar, a teacher and pastor.

This commission is responsible for determining the boundaries and names of regions, constituencies and local authorities.

Commissioners are appointed every 10 years by the president with the approval of the parliament.

“The report of the commission will greatly assist the work of the ECN, enabling the registration of eligible voters in the correct regions and constituencies,” Mbumba said.

They have three months to provide the president with this report.

Mbumba said it would be published.

“Today, I charge you, to, without delay, commence with the task at hand, as you have a very limited time frame of only three months in which you are expected to deliver results,” the president said.

Among other roles, the Constitution permits the commission to recommend changes to the names of local authorities, regions and constituencies.

“As a result, the work of this commission will provide us with valuable insights into the changing demographics of our nation, which now comprises a majority of youth.

“To this end, the government will, based on the work of the commission, formulate responsive policy interventions,” the president said.

Last month, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Elma Dienda emphasised the importance of the commission.

She said its decisions could influence political parties’ performance in elections.

Dienda has raised questions on the appointment of five members to serve in the commission, which were submitted to the parliament for approval.

The commission is also responsible for determining the number of people each regional council would consist of to determine the number of constituencies into which each region should be divided, and to fix the boundaries of each constituency.

The country currently comprises 14 regions and 121 constituencies.

During the previous announcement of the recommendations of the fourth delimitation commission, president Hifikepunye Pohamba emphasised the link between elections and this report.

“The delimitation of our country into regions and constituencies is linked to the national voters’ roll. Against this background, elections at both national and regional levels can only succeed if there is certainty regarding constituency boundaries.

“It is for this reason that the delimitation of our country into regions and constituencies is part of our efforts aimed at making the work of the ECN easier,” said the former president.

The fourth commission was constituted in 2013 and headed by judge Alfred Siboleka with Zed Ngavirue and John Steytler as members.

Recommendations by this commission were that the Kavango region is split into two regions, namely, the Kavango East region and the Kavango West region, and that the Caprivi region be renamed the Zambezi region.

The former commissioners also recommended adjusting the boundaries of a number of constituencies in regions.

The commission completed the regional consultations on 23 April 2013, and continued receiving written submissions until 30 April 2013.

It had the report ready for consideration by Pohamba within six months of its appointment.

The Institute for Public Policy Research’s ‘Election Watch’ of 2013 says the Regional Councils Act states that upon completion of this process, a report has to be submitted to the president, noting the findings of the commission, including lists of the various regions, constituencies and local authorities determined by the commission, as well as their recommendations with respect to their names and boundaries, as well as a map detailing these names and boundaries into which Namibia is to be divided.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News