Namibia at 34 Years: ALocal Authority Perspective

Jackson Muma

As Namibia Marks 34 years of independence, it is opportune to reflect on the journey of local governance in the country.

Establishing local authorities under the Namibian Constitution marked a pivotal moment for our country.

It was further solidified by the enactment of the Local Authorities Act (1992).

This legislation laid the foundation for the formation and categorisation of Local Authorities into Municipalities Part 1, Municipalities Part 2, Town Councils and Village Councils.

Since independence, there has been a dynamic interplay between central government oversight and the performance of local authorities.

We’ve seen instances where towns such as Karibib, Usakos and a few others were downgraded from municipalities to town councils, as well as the elevation of towns such as Oshikuku, Ruacana and a few others from village councils to town councils.


In the midst of these transitions, certain towns have distinguished themselves through commendable performance in revenue generation and municipal service delivery.

However, a lingering question arises about the geographical distribution of municipalities across Namibia.

Currently, municipalities are predominantly concentrated in the southern part of the country, prompting speculation about the criteria for elevation.

The absence of municipalities in the eastern, northern, or north-western regions begs scrutiny: Are there no towns in these areas deserving of such status? Towns such as Oshakati, Ongwediva, Ondangwa, Katima Mulilo, Eenhana and Outapi have demonstrated significant progress and potential.

Their socio-economic vitality and administrative capabilities make a compelling case for elevation to municipalities.

Yet, the inertia of the ministry responsible for local government in addressing this disparity has raised a few eyebrows.

Could this hesitancy be rooted in historical legacies?

The notion that certain regions are not suited for municipalities because of past prejudices warrants reevaluation.


The symbolic act of upgrading towns beyond the traditional ‘redline’ holds transformative potential, challenging outdated narratives and fostering inclusivity.

The proposed gesture of independence for deserving towns, particularly in the north, east and north-west, carries profound significance.

By aligning these changes with the 2025 Regional and Local Authorities Elections, Namibia can demonstrate its commitment to equitable development and representation.

In conclusion, the evolution of local authorities in Namibia reflects the nation’s journey towards self-governance and empowerment.

As we celebrate 34 years of independence, we need to reaffirm our commitment to local governance and equitable development.

May the government heed the call to elevate deserving towns to municipalities, ensuring that the bright promise of independence shines across every corner of our republic.

Long live the Republic of Namibia!

Jackson Muma is a marketing and communication practitioner. He served local authorities from 2010 to 2023. He is a graduate of political

  • studies from the University of Namibia, and holds a master’s of business administration.

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