Kahimise turns to Supreme Court

City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise has made a renewed legal attempt to stave off another suspension and wants the Supreme Court to bar the council from instituting disciplinary measures against him.

14 March 2019 | Labour

Embattled City of Windhoek CEO Robert Kahimise has endorsed the reinstatement and dropping of all charges against suspended City Police chief Abraham Kanime, but his own future remains murky.

While the city council has dragged its feet on saying whether Kahimise will face another suspension while allegations against him are being investigated, his legal team filed a notice of appeal at the Supreme Court on Friday.

The appeal is a renewed legal attempt to stave off another suspension and wants the court to bar the council from instituting disciplinary measures against him, pending the finalisation of the labour dispute he filed last year against the City.

Kahimise is appealing against the High Court ruling which determined that since his suspension was lifted in January his labour case has become null and void, and that the High Court has no jurisdiction in the labour dispute.

Meanwhile, two special council meetings were called, and then cancelled, on Thursday and Friday last week, on the topic of Kahimise's fate as the head of the municipality.

Documents seen by Namibian Sun show that a special council meeting was scheduled for 18:00 last Thursday, and then rescheduled for the next day at 13:00. That meeting was eventually cancelled until further notice.

The special council meetings were called to “discuss the way forward” on the Kahimise matter after the High Court struck Kahimise's urgent application from the roll in February.The meeting was set to continue on the “urgent matter arising from the special council meeting held on 24 January 2019”, which had resolved to invite Kahimise to a pre-suspension hearing on 29 January - before that hearing was cancelled as per a court order - while the urgent application was being considered.



Called back

Although the council has not yet discussed Kahimise's future, as per a January presidential directive, city councillors did discuss suspended City Police chief Kanime's reinstatement at the 28 February monthly council meeting.

The agenda item, which was discussed behind closed doors, included a letter of endorsement, penned by Kahimise, in which he supports the lifting of Kanime's suspension and the dropping all pending charges against the City Police chief.

The document, seen by Namibian Sun, which was listed as 'Gov.5 staff matter', also included a legal opinion written as per a 6 February council request, following President Hage Geingob's directive to drop all charges, and reinstate not only Kanime, but Kahimise too, after the president noted his displeasure with the longstanding infighting at the City, which he said was impeding service delivery.

The documents show that the council requested “an urgent but detailed [legal] opinion as to the exact powers of council in so far as internal disciplinary procedures are concerned, including the lifting of suspensions put in place as a result of disciplinary action and the withdrawing of charges”.

The request notes that the legal opinion is directly related to charges against “the head (of the) City Police, the chief executive officer, and other staff members of council”.

As a result of the agenda item nevertheless dealing solely with the issue of Kanime, two opposition councillors reportedly recused themselves in protest of the item not also addressing Kahimise's situation, and other staff to which the presidential directive applied.



A CEO's call

Kahimise's letter, included in the agenda, stated that was willing to “reinstate Chief Abraham K Kanime, Head; City Police, and to withdraw all pending charges, pending a directive from council”.





JANA-MARI SMITH

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