Sankwasa’s Rundu rescue plan fails

06 May 2019 | Politics

KENYA KAMBOWE



A plan by James Sankwasa, the chairperson of the Swapo leaders assigned to Kavango East, which would have resulted in the management committee of the limping Rundu town council finally being finalised after months of political infighting, has failed.

This was allegedly after Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa intervened.

Last Thursday the town council was to have convened to swear-in a third councillor to be part of the management committee, so the body could become functional.

The event was, however, called off at the last minute, allegedly because Sankwasa did not consult with Shaningwa’s office on the procedure used.

Attempts to get comment from Shaningwa proved futile, as her phone went unanswered.

She also did no reply to a text message.

Namibian Sun understands that Sankwasa had managed to convince Swapo councillor Ralph Ihemba to take up the third position on the management committee.

While other local authorities have tabled their budgets for the current financial year, the Rundu council cannot follow suit, as the management committee remains incomplete.

The management committee also plays a crucial role in scrutinising administrative affairs.

When contacted for comment, Sankwasa confirmed he visited Rundu and secretly met with Ihemba, whom he said eventually agreed to take up the third position on the management committee.

Sankwasa said he then arranged for another meeting with the councillor, in the presence of Kavango East governor Samuel Mbambo and the chairperson of the council’s management committee, Anastacia Shinduvi-Foya.

The purpose of the second meeting, which took place at the governor’s office, was to cement the agreement with Ihemba and to see how he and Shinduvi-Foya would work together.

Sankwasa added it was also decided that acting Rundu CEO Sikongo Haihambo was to be contacted, so the swearing-in ceremony could take place.

“I met councillor Ihemba to try to find out why he was refusing to be nominated and my job was to tell him to look at the bigger picture.

If he is elected and is refusing to be sworn-in, who is suffering here? Is it the councillor or the general public? That was my concern,” Sankwasa said.

“Yes, so I met him and he eventually agreed to be sworn-in and because I did not want to leave it at that, that’s when I called the governor and the chairperson of the management committee and we met. I wanted the council to function, because at the moment it has stopped functioning.”

However, on Thursday, Ihemba was nowhere to be seen.

Magistrate Hellen Olaiya, who showed up at 14:00 for the 14:30 ceremony, was informed of the latest development and had to return to court.

When contacted for comment, Ihemba said he had not been aware of the swearing-in ceremony.

When asked about his meeting with Sankwasa and him agreeing to be part of the management committee, Ihemba said: “No comment sir.”

Namibian Sun understands that Ihemba chickened out at the last minute after receiving information that Shaningwa was not in agreement with what he and Sankwasa had decided.

When asked whether his consultation with Ihemba was approved by Shaningwa, Sankwasa said he was guided by the lack of progress on the Rundu issue.

“There are problems and the problems are caused by this one (person), who is refusing, and I go to this one (person) to ask: Why are you refusing? Did I need top management for that?”

When he was informed that Ihemba had done a U-turn, Sankwasa said he did his part and it’s up to the councillors to see how they can sort out the issue.

“If after that he turns around and changes his mind, then I throw in the towel and they have to sort it out, because there is nothing I can do. I can’t force him,” Sankwasa said.