Councilor Leonard Jona represented the President of Association of Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN) during 14th session of Executive Committee of UCLG Africa (10 May 2016, Rabat). In this interview, he reveals that women are well represented in Local Authority area in Namibia.
Cllr Jona, can you tell us what ALAN is working on right now?
Now we are more looking to advocate and to influence in the change of the laws in Namibia. As a country, we are operating with some laws dating form 1966, which were created during the apartheid regimes. So these laws have created problems with the implementation of the Local Authorities. The other thing, which we are dealing with, is to enable and capacitate our members to be able to deliver quality services in Namibia.
How UCLG Africa can help you in capacity building for your members?
Namibia gained independence just a few years ago. We are just starting our activities as an association. If we can capacitate our association and our members, it would be great. The biggest problem we are facing is to capacitate our human resources. Our officers need to be trained and capacitated to be able to communicate with the rest of the world in terms of Policy drafting. We also need help on financial cost, of course, this is a global one, and all associations face this problem. Therefore, we need some capacities on financial issues. So that we can be able to move around, to the training of our members.
Can you share with us one best practice in your community?
We do have some activities with our Local authorities. We are more focused on HIV. We have a group of young people who have been trained to move around towns and educate our citizens on HIV issues. We noticed that this initiative progressed well and now we have a number of people doing this since and we have a number of people who had medication throughthat program launched in 2015.
Do you have many female councilors in Namibia?
Yes, we do. We have many women councilors and many women mayors in fact. This is one of the areas in Namibia where we are doing well as Local Authorities. I do not know how many women councilors there are but they’re more than men. One contributing factor is that in our law, there is a clause that if you have councilors two third of them should be women. In most of the cases, we have seven councilors for a small town, which means that three of them should be women.
Any last words…
African governments should take Local Authorities very seriously. In most of the cases, they do not consider Local Authorities as partners doing some high-level policy. So, as a result, implementation is difficult and this is why we have policies in which are not implemented. They are good but not implemented. That is why I think, we should start from the bottom up.