'It's the beginning of a dictatorship'

The president of the PDM McHenry Venaani has demanded President Hage Geingob apologise to the country.

01 February 2019 | Politics

President Hage Geingob's interference in the City of Windhoek suspensions saga is the beginning of a dictatorship, says Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani.

According to Venaani the president must apologise to Namibia.

Venaani was especially aggrieved and distressed by the president's remark, “I am not a lawyer, go now and doctor it”.

“The laws of the country provide you with an attorney-general who must advise him (the president). The president cannot play ignorant; he cannot say he is not a lawyer,” ­Venaani said.

On Wednesday Geingob directed the City councillors and management to reinstate suspended CEO Robert Kahimise and City Police chief Abraham Kanime with immediate effect.

He also ordered that the charges against Kahimise, who was suspended in October last year after obtaining a City study loan, allegedly without following the required procedures, be dropped.

In addition to the alleged study loan misconduct, a volley of other allegations were also levelled against Kahimise.

These include allegations of non-procedural appointments at the municipality, the alleged quashing of a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) that led to Kanime's suspension, questions around a salary increase and the irregular use of municipal property, funds and overtime claims.

Kanime was suspended with full pay in March last year amid a strained relationship with the CEO.

After rumblings began to emerge on social media about Geingob's City intervention, the presidency issued a statement saying the president's remarks “should in no way be interpreted as a directive”.

Venaani said as head of state Geingob is only allowed to pardon convicted criminals.

“The president has no right to interfere in the administration of the third layer of governance. The president, under the constitution, is only allowed to pardon offenders who were convicted in a competent court of law,” he said.

Venaani also suggested that Geingob has become an accomplice to Kahimise's alleged misconduct.

“He has infringed himself and is in conflict of the law by saying someone under investigation must be reinstated and those charges must be dropped. In this instance Hage Geingob has become the court of law,” said Venaani.

He cautioned that if this kind of interference is tolerated, then soon the president will be allowed to advise parliament to dance to his tunes.

Venaani also chided the presidency for its U-turn, which claimed Geingob had only advised the councillors.

“There is nothing wrong in advising his caucus in private to say, 'colleagues are these suspensions necessary?' But how do you tell councillors, even councillors that are not part of your party, to go drop the charges? What kind of system is this?” Venaani asked.

He said the PDM will now monitor the affairs and actions of the City like a hawk.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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