It's a power struggle - Kanime

28 March 2018 | Local News

City Police chief Abraham Kanime has linked his suspension to a power struggle in the corridors of power about how the municipal police service should be run, and has vowed to fight back.

The purported power struggle between City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise and Kanime came to a head on Monday afternoon, with the chief's suspension.

The first and only head of the Windhoek City Police, has steered the municipal police for 16 years and was suspended for the alleged unauthorised spending of public funds.

This was revealed by a preliminary City probe. However, further investigations still need to be completed before charges can be formulated.

Kanime's suspension comes after he approached the High Court last year after clashing with Kahimise, who took charge of the City in the same year. Kanime said he was being threatened and accused the City of preventing him from performing his duties.

Kanime described his suspension as a “power struggle” when he spoke to Namibian Sun yesterday, saying it pertains to the running of the City Police on a civilian basis versus running it in a “uniform basis”.

Kanime said although he had received his suspension letter on Monday afternoon he had not been informed of any charges.

Once he is informed of any charges, he will consult with his lawyers and fight on, he said.

“Following an internal audit exercise, I have reason to believe that you have committed a serious misconduct in your capacity as head of the City Police,” reads the notice of suspension issued by Kahimise.

Kahimise said yesterday he suspended Kanime with immediate effect after the preliminary internal audit investigation revealed he may be guilty of serious misconduct.

“The suspension is warranted to allow proper investigations of these allegations,” said Kahimise. He said this must be finalised within two months.

He added further details concerning the terms and conditions of the suspension were widely circulated on social media after the notice was served to Kanime in confidence.

Kahimise said this is very unfortunate as it is the City's policy not to discuss or to divulge staff member issues through the media.

Kanime was first suspended in accordance with the Windhoek municipal police service regulations without basic pay, but was given until 1 April to motivate why he must receive his basic wages.

Kahimise said Kanime had given his motivation almost immediately and at a late council meeting held on Monday it was decided to suspend him with full pay.

Kanime was further instructed to hand over all his office keys, access cards and his City Police appointment certificate and was told to stay away from the municipal police's offices.

His suspension terms also include informing Kahimise in writing if he wants to travel outside of Windhoek during normal working hours. “Please be advised that you should be readily available within the normal working hours to report for duty when required to do so,” the notice said.

Kanime further explained that the lawsuit he filed last year at the High Court against Kahimise and the City was in his official capacity. He said that an invoice for the legal fees was sent to the office of the CEO, which paid it.

“Nothing was hidden,” he said.

He added with regards to the internal audit that he was contacted for input, but according to him they were “digging to find something wrong”.

Asked whether he knows who is currently acting in his place, Kanime said he has no interest in this.

“The day will come and I will deal with them and the matter accordingly,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kahimise said there are no personal issues between himself and Kanime. He said if it was anyone else in public office they would also have been suspended. “We need to accountable.”

When asked whether criminal charges have been considered should Kanime be found guilty, Kahimise said there is not conclusive evidence yet.

“There are no personal issues. With regards to the High Court case it was brought about due to interference from the council and myself in the work of the City Police. But this case has been withdrawn.”

The legal battle

In documents first filed in the High Court in October last year, Kanime, in his founding affidavit, accused Kahimise and the city council of impeding him in the execution of his duties and victimising and threatening him.

According to Kanime, the problems started when the force prevented the erection of shacks at 7de Laan during November of that year.

He said councillors then started making threats against both him and the City Police.

“From January 2015 to April 2016, the unlawful interference in my responsibilities and duties by the CEO – an overt action on his part to frustrate [my] work – went on unabated.”

According to Kanime during the shutdown of illegal car-washes in Windhoek in January 2017, he was forced to halt the operation and the urgent letter from the council spoke of the “political ramifications” these actions could have for the city council.

Kahimise filed a lengthy answering affidavit in which he told the court that Kanime's application was a “step in furtherance of a power struggle upon which Kanime has embarked”.

He asked for the application to be dismissed. Kanime this year withdrew the charges after consultations with Inspector-General Sebastian Ndeitunga and Windhoek mayor, Muesee Kazapua.

The Windhoek Municipality appointed Kanime as Manager of Security Services in 2001 and then identified him to become Chief of City Police designate in 2002.

Senior Superintendent Nathaniel Nendongo has been appointed as the acting head of the City Police.

ELLANIE SMIT

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