Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Namibia: Cuba Trip Cost City N$150 000

Namibia: Cuba Trip Cost City N$150 000

The Namibian (Windhoek)

November 27, 2006
Posted to the web November 27, 2006

Staff Reporter

A RECENT trip by three City of Windhoek officials, including Mayor
Mathew Shikongo, to a solidarity meeting in Havana, Cuba, had been
approved by the City's Management Committee at a cost of approximately
N$150 000.

According to a press release by the Office of the Chief Executive,
Corporate Communications, the trip took place because of a 'linking
policy' in terms of Council resolution 503/10/95, which "ensures the
integration of the City with other local authorities fraternity the
world over".

The trip was also necessitated by the "significant importance of the
bonds of friendship between the people of Namibia and Cuba" which had
also resulted in a decision to accord a "special deserving honour to
Cuba's revolutionary leader by renaming a street after him in Windhoek".

In a wordy statement, the City of Windhoek said that while "not every
ratepayer would support and appreciate activities of this nature", the
Municipality nevertheless believed that maintaining international
contacts would further enhance and promote the image of Windhoek.

The 14th Meeting for Co-operation and Solidarity of Town Halls with
Havana took place in that city from November 13 to 15, and was attended
by the Windhoek Mayor, accompanied by one councillor and a technical

The City's Management Committee had, on October 16, considered the
invitation, taken into account the financial implication of N$150 000
and approved the trip, the statement said.

Budgetary provisions were made for such activities, it added.

Details of this foreign excursion, which also included the Mayor and CEO
of the Walvis Bay Municipality and six regional Governors, were revealed
in Gwen Lister's 'Political Perspective' column on November 17.

There was no official announcement prior to the trip, and neither did it
have Cabinet sanction.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Regional and Local Government,
Housing and Rural Development confirmed that the Ministry had given
approval for a delegation to attend the Havana meeting, but had left
organisational issues in the hands of the Association of Regional
Councils (ARC).
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The Chief Administrator of ARC, Kakune Kandjavera, in turn said that
invitations had gone directly to regional councils, rather than through
the ARC.

He added that the President of the ARC, Omaheke Governor Laura McLeod,
would be better placed to comment on the size and costs of the delegation.

Attempts to reach McLeod, who also travelled to Havana, were not
successful at the time of going to press.

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