By David Nduuvundi /
Three major towns in northern Namibia are up in arms demanding that the government through the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development elevate their status to Municipality Part 2 before 2025.
The demand was raised at the recent quarterly engagement meeting between Oshakati, Ongwediva and Ondangwa towns’ CEO’s and Governor of Oshana Mr Elia Irimari.
While Ondangwa is the oldest town in northern Namibia, Oshakati grew over the years before and after Independence to become the commercial centre of the north. And then Ongwediva didn’t waste time but grew in leaps and bounds to become a sophisticated residential and leisure town.
Chief Executive Officer of Ondangwa Mr Ismael Namgongo, CEO of Ongwediva Mr Damian Egumbo, and CEO of Oshakati Mr Timoteus Namwandi did not mince their words in indicated their desire to have their towns move up on the scale of local authorities.
They said that their towns have already proposed their wish to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, which responded that the concerned Councils should wait for a reform paper.
However, no time frame was given.
The three local authorities claim that over the past years they managed to attract necessary investments, as well as seeing a gradual swell in population growth, and they have for years practiced prudent financial management, which are the main factors that may motivate the request for them to be elevated to municipal status.
Among the benefits of becoming a municipality are an increased budget allocation by the central government, as well as attracting top service providers to boost local development.
And of course another benefit is that the CEO’s would receive increased salary benefits and perks.
As per the Local Authorities Act, achieving municipal status depends largely on financial independence from government.
For the past 32 years, no local authority north of the red line was elevated to the municipality status.
In 2022, Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Ms Natalia /Goagoses urged the three councils of Ondangwa, Ongwediva and Oshakati to upgrade to municipal status.
At the time /Goagoses said that the three councils were advanced enough and doing well economically and therefore ready to become municipalities.
According to her, the towns have been experiencing rapid growth through urbanisation, and a high demand for municipal service delivery which need to be rendered to the residents.
The Governor of Oshana Mr Elia Irimari pledged his support to the request from the three towns, saying that the change of status is long overdue as testimony of the developmental impact made over the years.
In the photo: Ondangwa CEO Ismael Namgongo, Ongwediva CEO Damian Egumbo, and Oshakati CEO Timoteus Namwandi