City dragged to court over Kanime
21 April 2020 | Justice
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Windhoek councillor Ignatius Semba has asked the High Court to urgently halt the extension of City Police chief Abraham Kanime’s contract.
Kanime was due to leave at the end of this month, after over a decade at the helm of the City Police.
He had resigned in 31 January, giving three months’ notice. However, on 27 February the majority of councillors agreed to negotiate with Kanime to stay on until 31 April 2023.
A High Court hearing to determine the urgency of the motion is set to take place today.
Semba and others say Kanime’s contract could only be extended had he retired, but that the laws related to a resignation make such an extension illegal.
In court documents, Semba wrote that to his “astonishment”, a draft contract of employment had already been signed by Moses Shikwa, the chairperson of the management committee.
He claimed this contract is ready to be “rubber-stamped” at a 22 April council meeting.
Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu argued in papers filed over the weekend that she was not aware of a meeting slated for this week, and denied the contract extension was unlawful.
“Somehow the applicant reads into regulations that once you resign, you cannot be reappointed or no new contract may be negotiated with you. This is untenable.”
Kahungu argued there are many reasons to retain an employee who has resigned and that “there are practical reasons why [the] council took that decision”.
She further argued that Kanime’s resignation would only take effect at the end of April, and that council decided to intervene before this.
Details of contract
Kanime only returned to his post last May, after he was suspended with full pay in March 2018 due to misconduct allegations.
A copy of the negotiated contract attached to Semba’s court application shows Kanime’s new contract includes a monthly basic salary of N$115 685, plus N$25 103.65 per month paid to a provident fund.
The contract provides a 13th cheque equivalent to one month’s salary and an N$302 268 annual vehicle allowance. The contract also makes provision for a housing allowance based on 35% of his basic monthly salary.
Following Kanime’s resignation, relevant authorities were asked to submit potential candidates to take over the post.
One of the names put forward was that of police special branch head, Commissioner Elias Mutota, Semba wrote.
However, despite the wheels set in motion to secure a new City Police chief, the council instead decided to negotiate with Kanime to stay on.
This was met with grumblings from several quarters.
In March, Nudo threatened to take the matter to court, underlining that an extension would be unlawful and invalid.
Semba said despite raising his objections at the February council meeting, the decision to negotiate with Kanime to stay was approved by the majority of councillors.