What are the benefits of decentralisation for the people?
When the Decentralisation Policy in its entirety is put in place, a number of basic services will be planned for and provided by regional councils and local authorities instead of line ministries based in Windhoek. This will bring many benefits to the people. Some of the most crucial ones are listed below.
Government will be better aware of our local needs and priorities
The regional councils and local authorities are closer to the communities than the central government in Windhoek. These sub-national governments are therefore more familiar with local needs and priorities. With full decentralisation they get to decide how to use the funds allocated to them: For example, which school is to be renovated, where the water points should be set up, what type of other services does the area need for its development?
We get more opportunities to influence how government funds are used
To establish what the local needs and priorities are, regional councils and local authorities are obliged to listen to the communities. For example, at the regional level people can contribute towards decision-making by attending regional council or various development committees meetings and airing their needs and concerns with their constituency councilor. (More information available from your regional council or local authority.)
We do not need to travel far to interact with the government
Regional councils and local authorities are more easily accessible to the general public than line ministries in Windhoek. For example, applying for a license for your vehicle at the regional council office and picking it up at the same place saves time and money compared to having to travel to Windhoek to organize it - and the same counts if we need to report a broken water pipe or a teacher who is neglecting his duties!
Political and administrative office holders will need to perform properly
Regional councils and local authorities are directly elected by the people who live there. When councils have full responsibility for service delivery, people – by voting in elections – can hold their councilors accountable for failure to deliver services or reward them for delivering good services. Decentralisation also improves transparency: everybody is allowed to sit in council meetings where development plans are discussed, approved or rejected. Furthermore, records of approved activities, allocated funds and the use of these funds are kept with the sub-national government where people have easy access to them if they are not convinced by the results they can see on the ground.