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Interview Transcripts

INTERVIEW: Professor Ndumba Kamwanya Explains Process and Challenges of Petition Responses in Namibia

todayJune 25, 2024 21

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In a recent discussion, Professor Ndumba Kamwanya shed light on the procedures and challenges associated with handling petitions in Namibia. The conversation was sparked by a query regarding the petition handed to Minister Doreen Sioka of the Gender Ministry by the BIG coalition.
The Petition Process
Professor Kamwanya began by explaining the general process that follows the submission of a petition to a minister or any person in charge. “When a petition is handed to a minister or a person in charge, it is the responsibility of the ministry to study the petition thoroughly,” he stated. This meticulous review is crucial as it allows the ministry to provide informed feedback to the petitioners.
In this specific instance, it is expected that the management within the Gender Ministry will carefully examine the petition before determining the appropriate response. Minister Sioka has indicated that the matter might be escalated to the president’s desk for further direction. “Once she receives guidance from the president, she will revert to the petitioners with the necessary feedback,” Professor Kamwanya noted.
Lack of Prescribed Standards
Addressing the issue of time frames and standard procedures, Professor Kamwanya highlighted a significant gap in the system. “We don’t really have a prescribed standard that dictates the criteria and steps to be followed once a petition is handed over,” he explained. This lack of formal procedure means that the timeline and actions taken are highly dependent on the ministry or minister involved.
Expectations of Good Governance
In terms of good governance, Professor Kamwanya emphasized the importance of providing timely feedback to petitioners. “Feedback must be provided, and if the petition warrants steps to be taken in terms of implementation, those steps must be executed in any democratic society,” he asserted. Unfortunately, he acknowledged that Namibia’s track record has been inconsistent. “It has been all over the map. We did not really see action after a petition has been handed over. It has often remained dormant with no feedback.”
Call for Improvement
Professor Kamwanya’s insights underline the need for a more structured and responsive approach to handling petitions in Namibia. The lack of a standardized procedure and the inconsistency in providing feedback and taking action can erode public trust and hinder civic engagement.
For Namibia to uphold the principles of good governance and foster a healthier democracy, it is imperative that ministries and officials take petitions seriously, provide timely and appropriate responses, and ensure that necessary actions are taken. This approach will not only strengthen the relationship between the government and its citizens but also promote transparency and accountability within the public sector.
As Professor Kamwanya concluded, “It is vital for the health of our democracy that petitions are treated with the seriousness they deserve.”
For further updates and insights on this topic, stay tuned to our website.

Written by: Leonard Witbeen

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