The regional council and local authority elections will take place across Namibia on Wednesday, 25 November when Namibians will vote for political representatives that will form the regional and local governments for the next five years.
These are important elections, although they continue to play second fiddle to the presidential and National Assembly elections.
Over the years, these elections have received little attention from the general public, as seen in low voter turnout.
Despite the significant impact of these elections, there has been little interest. Yet these elections also present an opportunity for ordinary citizens to make their voices heard.
Regional councillors are legally mandated to highlight and communicate the needs of the people to the relevant authorities including ministries and other government organs.
They’re the eyes and ears of the central government at the grassroots level to ensure that communities have access to clean drinking water, better roads, schools and health facilities, etc. Also, local councillors at local authority level have the legal mandate to provide essential services to residents.
Their many responsibilities include the provision of basic services such water, sanitation facilities, decent housing and road maintenance, public order, public health, public parking and economic development, recreational and sports facilities and many more. These are some of the many reasons why regional and local government elections are of utmost importance.
Many people might ask themselves why bother about the regional and local government elections since nothing will change. Or thinking that their vote won’t count because municipal services will remain the same. Since many of us complain about poor municipal services and lack of clean water in our villages – it is a clear verdict that these elections have a substantial and direct impact on our daily lives.
Regional councils and local authorities are the first level of government in our country. You might not be aware, but we are heavily dependent on regional and local governments for most of our needs.
For instance, the central government allocates a budget to local authorities to ensure that we have quality water, well-kept public parks, proper housing, good roads and security, and many others.
Regional councils also get budgets to ensure the needs of communities are catered for like good schools, clinics, rural economic development, food production, water, etc.
So, the quality of municipal services that we have been yearning for are dependent on the quality of regional and local councillors that we have elected.
That shows that we are responsible for the quality of services that we get from our regional and local governments.
Voting is not only a constitutional obligation – but also a privilege accorded to us ordinary people to elect worthy leaders who truly care and are willing to take a bullet for us.
So, don’t hesitate to make your voice heard.