Smith-Howard: IPC races against time
11 January 2022 | Local News
Suspended Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) councillor Ciske Smith-Howard may have to vacate her seat on the Erongo regional council if she misses more than three consecutive meetings, according to the Regional Council Act.
She is also councillor of the Swakopmund constituency, which has now effectively been without an active political head for three months.
It is not clear how long a constituency may remain without a councillor who is suspended, with officials sending Namibian Sun from pillar to post regarding this question.
If IPC removes Smith-Howard as councillor, her position will be regarded vacant and a by-election will have to be called as per the provisions of the Electoral Act.
The Regional Council Act also makes provision for the removal of the chairperson if the regional council resolves by a majority of all its members that it has no confidence in such member.
Smith-Howard was suspended by her party in October last year. She was subsequently slapped with nine charges by IPC in December and invited to a disciplinary process.
IPC national spokesperson Imms Nashinge said the matter was with the party’s disciplinary committee.
Sort it out
“The matter is with the disciplinary committee of the IPC; they are busy with that. That body has the capacity, they understand the challenges that come with the process, just give them time,” Nashinge said.
According to him, the party received the mandate to manage the council and not individuals, adding that it would resolve the matter in the necessary time required.
“We don’t mind how long [it takes]; what needs to be sorted out needs to be sorted out,” he said.
Smith-Howard chose not to comment, saying the matter was sub judice.
Her lawyer Tshuka Luvindao said his client had serious concerns.
“We have raised serious concerns with the IPC's disciplinary process and issued summons accordingly to ensure that our client's rights are protected. It is unclear to us at this stage how the IPC has chosen [to] proceed,” he said.
Commenting on the ramifications of Smith-Howard’s suspension, Erongo regional council chief regional officer Ludmilla Doëses referred Namibian Sun to the IPC, saying council was yet to issue a statement on the councillor’s absence.
When asked whether Smith-Howard had missed consecutive meetings, Doëses said: “Not as yet. Council meetings are set yearly when National Council is not in session”.