Rundu chaos engulfs Swapo again

13 December 2019 | Politics

The same chaos that engulfed the Rundu town council office-bearers election late last year, which dragged on to earlier this year, is once again playing itself out at the riverside town.

Last time the fight was among the five Swapo councillors after three of them defied party secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa's directive that Verna Sinimbo and Ralf Ihemba remain in their mayor and deputy mayor posts, respectively.

The infighting escalated to such an extent that President Hage Geingob had to intervene.

However, this time around the battle is between the same trio and the Swapo Rundu district executive.

In a nutshell, the trio of Isak Kandingu, who is the current mayor, Anastacia Shinduvi Foya, the chairperson of the management committee, and Toini Hausiku, who is also a member of the management committee, appear not to be in the good books of the newly elected Swapo Rundu Urban district executive, which wants them reshuffled.

On Wednesday, while Magistrate Hellen Olaiya was ready to preside over the election and swearing in ceremony, she was left stunned by Swapo Rundu district coordinator Gabriel Hakusembe, who interjected while she was busy explaining the procedures to be followed.

After numerous attempts to explain that the law does not condone objections from members of the public when the process has commenced, Hakusembe refused to take his seat before distributing two brown envelopes - one to Olaiya and one to acting Rundu CEO Matheus Naironga.

The letter, seen by Namibian Sun, said that four Swapo councillors were being withdrawn from taking part in the election.

“With the fact that the Rundu Urban district executives of the Swapo Party could not finalise its programme regarding the swearing in and election of office-bearers' ceremony of the Rundu town councillors, the executives had a meeting to request your office on the withdrawal of the four councillors from partaking in such an activity (sic),” the letter said.

Olaiya instructed Hakusembe to drop the envelope at her office, before leaving the chamber.

“If that is the case, I have been doing this for a very long time. I don't break the law, because if I break the law, the law will break me, then I will have no choice but to excuse myself until your house is in order,” Olaiya said in response to Hakusembe's request.

When contacted for comment yesterday, Hakusembe told Namibian Sun an election and swearing in ceremony involving their members will not take place without the blessing of the Swapo district executive.

He added that on numerous occasions the Swapo councillors were invited to meetings with the district executive, but they failed to show up, which left them with no option but to intervene in the process, which led to the postponement.

“For now the election and swearing in ceremony has been postponed until further notice,” Hakusembe said.

Last week Namibian Sun reported that urban and rural development ministry executive director, Nghidinua Daniel had explicitly said political parties have no legal right to dictate who should occupy what position when local authority councillors are elected as office-bearers.

When asked whether the Rundu urban district is aware of this communication, Hakusembe said they are aware of it, but insisted that the councillors should have consulted them instead of avoiding them.

KENYA KAMBOWE

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