Rundu councillors in open rebellion

08 February 2019 | Politics

Swapo's Rundu councillors have defied a party directive that the town office-bearers structure must remain unchanged.

In a dramatic twist yesterday, Isack Kandingu was elected and sworn in as Rundu mayor, replacing Verna Sinimbo, while Toini Hausiku was elected as deputy mayor, replacing Ralph Ihemba.

Anastacia Shinduvi-Foya and Matheus Wakudumo were elected onto the management committee, while a third member of the committee is still to be elected.

Sinimbo, Ihemba and Reginald Ndara will serve as ordinary members of the town council.

Both the Rundu and Okahandja councils were given an ultimatum by the party on Monday to have their swearing-in ceremonies yesterday, after party SG Sophia Shaningwa's earlier directives were defied in November last year.

“The swearing-in of the local authority councillors should take place no later than Thursday, 7 February 2019, as earlier directed by the office of the secretary-general,” Shaningwa wrote in her 4 February letters, following a Swapo politburo meeting last week that endorsed her earlier directives.

In the case of Rundu, Shaningwa had said there should be no changes to the office-bearers structure, while in Okahandja she instructed that mayor Johannes 'Congo' Hindjou be demoted to an ordinary council member.

Only the Rundu town council went ahead yesterday with its election and swearing-in ceremony, while in Okahandja there was postponement because of the unavailability of a magistrate.

There was drama in Rundu, which saw Magistrate Sonia Sampofu calling for a five-minute break, after Sinimbo's nomination as mayor was not seconded, much to the shock of those in attendance.

Kandingu was then nominated and seconded to serve as mayor, and he accepted.

Sinimbo was nominated to serve as his deputy, but she declined. Hausiku was then nominated and she accepted.

Shinduvi-Foya was then nominated as the first member of the management committee and she accepted.

As it was clear at this point that Sinimbo and Ihemba were unwilling to participate in the election process, and All People's Party (APP) councillor, Wakudumo, was then elected as the second member of the management committee.

Soon after, the elected councillors took their oaths, while some members of the public staged a walkout, which interrupted proceedings. They then same liberation songs outside.

Some party members even threatened the councillors, reminding them that they should not mess with Swapo.

Kandingu went on to give his acceptance speech and called for unity amongst all stakeholders.

“We must be unified because hatred will never take us anywhere. I urge the residents of Rundu to be united and to work as a team in our town,” Kandingu said.

Attempts to get comment from Shaningwa proved futile at the time of going to print.


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