Amupanda sets tone for Windhoek

03 December 2020 | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKES



WINDHOEK

Job Amupanda acted the part of ‘incoming’ Windhoek mayor for a year, and saw his dream come to fruition yesterday when he was elected into the position unopposed.

The 33-year-old ascended to the helms of the city yesterday, putting to bed week-long speculations about who will take over the mayoral chain from Swapo’s Fransina Kahungu.

Describing it as a sign of colonialisation, Amupanda yesterday refused to adorn the mayor’s chain and said it must be condemned to the museum for visiting tourists to see.

Amupanda’s election as mayor, deputised by Clemenecia Hanases of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), all but confirmed Swapo’s dislodgement from running the capital city – a first since independence.

The ruling party has only been able to win five of the 15 seats at stake, with the opposition, or ‘progressive forces’ as Amupanda calls them, taking 10.

Swapo councillors ordinary

It was a sad day for Swapo, whose five councillors were reduced to ordinary council members, including experienced former mayor Kahungu.

Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) member and former City of Windhoek strategic executive Fillemon Hambuda was elected chairperson of the management committee, after his party won four seats on council.

Other members of the management committee are Joseph Uapingene (National Unity Democratic Organisation), Desiree Davids (IPC), Ilse Keister (Affirmative Repositioning) and Ndeshihafela Larandje (IPC).

The ordinary councillors are Swapo’s Kahungu, Queen Kamati, Austin Kwenani, Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma and Magdalena Lombardt as well as Landless People's Movement’s Ivan Skrywer and Sade Gawanas, and Bernadus Araeb (IPC).

‘All in this together’

Amupanda yesterday struck a reconciliatory tone in his inaugural mayoral speech, despite consistently referring to Swapo as ‘South West Africa’ - in reference to the origins of the party’s name.

“This is collective leadership. We will rotate the mayor position because we are all in this together,” he said.

He said City affairs will be run differently under the new dispensation.

“Management is no longer running policy, but must run administration of the City. We won’t hesitate to fire you, but also we will not hesitate to reward you,” he said to City staff.

“From today on, there is a new policy directive. We cannot have town planners in the City but we contract consulting engineers.”

Focus on local

“We must reduce time for servicing plots from 50 days to 25 days,” Amupanda, who officially resigned from Swapo in August, said.

The former Swapo Party Youth League spokesperson then asked: “Why do you buy [Windhoek City Police] uniforms from South Africa and waste bins from the UK when locals can produce it?

“Why do we have a tender to clean buses when we should employ 600 cleaners?”

He said all City residents must fulfil their rates and tax obligations, and hastened to add that powerful residents will not get special treatment in terms of settling their dues.

“Everyone will be treated equal now. If the governor does not pay, we must cut their services.”

“Poor people must be given a structure to reach the City leadership with their emergencies just like people in Ludwigsdorf whose potholes are fixed overnight.”

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