By Risco Lumamezi
Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security (MHAISS), Dr. Albert Kawana has commissioned the construction of the new regional headquarter office for Zambezi region on Wednesday.
The envisaged construction of this state-of-the-art building will accommodate the directorates of Civic Affairs, Immigration, Refugees, while Safety and Security will render correctional services and certifications of documents.
According to Dr. Kawana , the new Zambezi regional office will bring services closer to the people, “as one stock border” under one roof in responding to the long waiting ques that are currently being served to the people of Zambezi region.
This will also create job opportunities among the unemployed young people as it will need many workers who will deliver services to the community.
“I am happy that it will provide additional employment to our people especially our youth because once we expand services here it means employing more staffs who should come here to work for us”
This capital project will cost the ministry to spend more than one hundred million Namibian dollars (N$ 100,000.000) in order to complete the construction.
“This, ladies and gentlemen, is to illustrate Government’s commitment to public safety and efficient provision of civic services. We need to invest, as public sector, in basic infrastructure that will positively make long-term impact on service provision.
Birth registration is a universal human right as per the 1989 United Nations Convention on the rights of the child as clearly stipulated under article 7 which reads as follows: “the child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents”.
The government has entrusted the Ministry to ensure that Namibian children are registered at birth and are provided with birth certificates.” Explained Dr Kawana
He revealed that before he goes for his retirement in 2025, he expects his ministry to complete the new regional headquarter in Zambezi, a new Police Station named after Greenwell Matongo in Katima Mulilo, Kalimbeza Police Post in the eastern Zambezi (Kabbe North Constituency) and Katima Farm at Liselo for food security.
Another regional office for Kavango West region will follow suit, whilst in Opuwo a brand-new regional office has been inaugurated.
Kawana added that “According to the Namibia Inter-censal Demographic Survey Report of 2016 (NIDS, 2016), the Zambezi Region, which has a geographical area size of fourteen thousand, seven hundred and eighty-five (14, 785) square kilometres, is home to ninety-eight thousand, eight hundred and forty-nine (98,849) inhabitants.
The Zambezi Region ranks third among the regions with the highest population without birth certificates at 17.2% and second highest region with the highest population without identity documents at 24.9% (NIDS, 2016). There are currently five (5) Civil Registration offices in the Zambezi Region, namely, Zambezi Regional Office here in Katima Mulilo, Linyanti Sub- Regional Office at Linyanti Constituency, Impalila Sub-Regional Office at Kabbe South Constituency, Chetto Sub-Regional Office at Kongola Constituency, and the Hospital-based Office at Katima Mulilo State Hospital.”
He pointed out that Zambezi Region being one of the busiest regions in the country in terms of civil registration and immigration services. It is bordered by three countries, Angola in the northwest, Zambia in the north, and Botswana in the south.
“The Regional Office here in Katima Mulilo is currently operating from rented property, a three-bedroom house where the department of Civil Registration and the department of Immigration Control and Citizenship are both hosted. The services provided at the Regional Office include birth and ID registration, immigration services and matters related to refugee management. The current office space is not adequate to cater for the number of services provided by the two departments given the volume of people crowding the office looking for services. Therefore, this makes the working environment not conducive for both staff and those seeking services, hence the need for the construction of an office that will provide a conducive work environment for the efficient and effective provision of services.”
He however, mentioned that his ministry has fully implemented five resolutions of the 24th Session of the Namibia- Zambia Joint Permanent Commission of Defence and Security held in Livingstone, Zambia in April 2023 relating to cooperation between Civil Registration authorities of the two countries.
“These include, among others, conducting awareness activities along the common border on the importance of birth registration and requirements, the development of Standard Operating Procedures for birth registration in district/regional offices along the common border, and to address the need for border passes for mothers who deliver across the border. I am, therefore, calling upon the Executive Director to ensure that on our part, these Resolutions are fully implemented.”
“As Government in general and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security in particular, we have an obligation to ensure that all our people have a legal identity, but we can only do that effectively if we have the right infrastructure in place.
As we forge ahead with building infrastructure with a view of taking services closer to our people, I want to mention that in addition to the successful turnaround strategy and the many customer-focused initiatives implemented by the Ministry, Cabinet has approved the introduction of electronic IDs. These IDs will have a chip embedded between the layers of the card, which will contain personal information of the card holder and will provide multiple uses through identification, authentication, and digital signature for electronic transactions. Designated staff members of the Ministry will provide further details through various media platforms on the features and advantages of the electronic ID.”
At the same occasion Zambezi Governor, Lawrence Sampofu commended minister Kawana and his team for bringing development in the Zambezi region as it makes it easier for people to have the national identity documents.
Chairperson of the Management Committee of the Zambezi Regional Council and Katima Rural Constituency Councillor Warden Simushi, thanked the minister of Home Affairs for considering key capital projects such as the construction of the regional headquarter office for Civic Affairs and Katima Liselo Farm as part of job creation among the youth. Simushi further appealed to the general public to give credit to Dr. Kawana for what he has done, and he therefore urged him not to step-down as he was still energetic to work for the people.