Itula changed, says suspended Smith-Howard
22 October 2021 | Politics
Suspended Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) Swakopmund constituency councillor Ciske Smith-Howard says her party leader, Dr Panduleni Itula, has become ‘autocratic’ and a shadow of a man who lured thousands of people into his fold using the constitutionality wand.
Speaking on The Evening Review yesterday following her suspension from her councillor position on Wednesday, Smith-Howard said Itula – who as an independent candidate gave President Hage Geingob a run for his money in the 2019 presidential election – is ruling IPC with an iron fist and according to his own whims.
Smith-Howard conceded she got emotional in a heated confrontation with the party leadership on a WhatsApp group conversation prior to her suspension, over questions on why she dragged IPC’s Henties Bay town council management committee member Siefried Junios //Garoeb before disciplinary hearing without consent from her party principals.
//Garoeb faced scrutiny for having allegedly been previously fired by the same town council where he worked, for maladministration.
“I just think IPC cannot allow an official who was fired from that council to be now in charge of it. It’s a simple principle of governance,” she said.
Namibian Sun has it on good authority that another issue that led to Smith-Howard’s suspension was related to her not residing within the constituency she is leading, as required by the Local Authorities Act.
There is also disillusionment about Smith-Howard’s submission of her husband’s CV for consideration to become a board member of electricity distributor, Erongo Red.
“He’s qualified for the position. One of the most qualified actually,” she said yesterday.
‘Not the man I thought he was’
On the confrontation with her superiors, she said: “It’s not a secret that I am a very emotional person, especially when it comes to things I am passionate about.
“Emotions were flying high on the group, with accusations that I’m racist. I couldn’t allow that.
“Itula autocratically suspended me. We met in Windhoek this week and he went ahead with his decision without consultation with the party’s collective leadership,” she said.
“I am disappointed in Dr Itula. He’s not the man I thought he was. He does not subscribe to the principle of consultative leadership. I am disillusioned and disappointed in [his] leadership.”
IPC has been on a crusade against its councillors in recent months, having suspended Desiree Davids as one of its representatives on the Windhoek City council as well as briefly restraining the rest of its councillors from council activities for reasons that were never made public.
In Windhoek, the party also skipped its election list to appoint Jürgen Hecht as a new councillor to replace Fillemon Hambuda, who recently withdrew from council, leading to the resignation of Rozelda Somses, who was next on the party list.
Both Itula and party spokesperson Imms Nashinge yesterday denied that IPC suspended Smith-Howard, despite a letter issued to her in this regard.
If IPC recalls Smith-Howard as councillor, the Electoral Act dictates that a by-election must be convened within 90 days.