The politics of spite

07 May 2019 | Columns

It is disturbing to read that the Rundu town council still does not have a functioning management committee, amid the much-publicised Swapo infighting at the northern town.

The unfolding drama is linked to the defiance of a Swapo directive, which was against the election of Isak Kandingu as mayor and Toini Hausiku as deputy mayor. The two had replaced Verna Sinimbo and Ralph Ihemba, whom the ruling party wanted to retain as mayor and deputy mayor, respectively, for another year. During the office-bearers' elections in February, the councillors went ahead and elected Anastacia Shinduvi and Matheus Wakudumo to the management committee. However, a third member of the committee is yet to be elected, as both Sinimbo and Ihemba are said to have declined their nominations, seemingly out of spite for not being re-elected into their old positions. The impasse at Rundu has literally brought the council to a standstill, and no budget has been tabled as yet, because of the incomplete management committee.

This committee also plays a crucial role in scrutinising administrative affairs. The two councillors have shown a total disregard for the cooperation required to have a complete management committee, and this has impacted service delivery. It is interesting that Swapo SG Sophia Shaningwa is tight-lipped on the matter, considering her ferocious attempts to ensure that both Sinimbo and Ihemba were retained. When the two councillors served as mayor and deputy mayor, there was no boycotting of council elections, nor was there a prolonged election process for the management committee. Yes, they are within their rights to decline or accept a nomination. However, it has become absolutely essential that an amicable solution is found to this disconcerting impasse. It is clear that the two councillors are putting their personal interests ahead of the people of Rundu and their tactics should be condemned. If the two councillors are not comfortable working with their colleagues, they should do the honourable thing and step down, so others can take over. They are not irreplaceable.