Impunity fuels corruption

19 July 2019 | Columns

City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise last week lifted the lid on shady land deals at the municipality, which has for years been a contentious issue. Kahimise, while addressing journalists last Friday, appeared to suggest that some City officials have been engaged in corruption with total impunity.

There is “a smaller system within a bigger system”, as well as a “smaller council within the council at large”, he claimed. The under-fire CEO left no stone unturned, saying he wants to create a culture of teamwork, transparency, accountability and fair treatment of residents.

Over the years, the City has been hogging headlines for all the wrong reasons, especially when it comes to allegations of corruption as part of its land delivery programme.

We all know the country is already grappling with an acute housing shortage, with rising prices putting houses out of the reach of ordinary Namibians.

The problems at the City are well-known by all and sundry. However, it is the deafening silence among councillors and senior government officials that underlines where the real issues are, in terms of resolving corruption at the municipality.

We have seen ministers responsible for urban and rural development getting tough on local municipalities such as Okahandja, where a moratorium on land sales is still in place.

The Rehoboth council was also dissolved and placed under administration, due to infighting. What is so special about the City of Windhoek, where allegations of dubious land deals have been rearing their ugly heads? The anger about corruption has led to a number of protests in the past, yet nothing has been done to bring the culprits to book.

This undermines the fight against corruption and should be nipped in the bud. Lastly, as the accounting officer, Kahimise must do what is right, including submitting a report on allegations of corruption to allow the anti-graft agency to deal with such matters. Clearly a culture of impunity, coupled by weak systems, has left the municipality open to abuse.

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