Suspended Okahandja CEO postpones swearing-in ceremony
17 January 2020 | Government
The councillors showed up at the council chambers on Wednesday but Okahandja senior magistrate Leonard Mateus failed to turn up.
The councillors were at the council chambers on the invitation of the acting CEO, Pasella Nunda.
It is said that the magistrate did not show up because Mutilifa had written him a letter indicating that the event had been cancelled.
Namibian Sun has seen the letter that Mutilifa wrote to Mateus, in which she indicated that four Swapo councillors had been recalled by the party district executive, hence there would be no swearing-in ceremony.
“Today your attention is drawn to another letter by the Swapo district executive dated 13 January 2020 addressed to my office that is reaffirming their decision to recall four councillors on Swapo ticket until further notice,” reads the letter from Mutilifa.
In the letter with a municipal stamp, Mutilifa asked the senior magistrate no to make any arrangements for the ceremony, and purported that she was still the one making such decisions.
“Please take note not to make any arrangements for swearing-in ceremony without communication from the authentic chief executive officer, who is myself, and not anyone claiming to be acting on my position, for as long as I am still employed by council. Accountability is not transferable,” she wrote to the magistrate.
Officials in the municipality confirmed that Mutilifa does not have access, nor is she allowed anywhere near the office, raising questions on how she got hold of the municipality's official stamp while on suspension.
The suspended councillors, according to documents seen by Namibian Sun, are the town's mayor, Johannes 'Congo' Hindjou, deputy mayor Hileni Iita, management committee chairperson Gideon Uwu-Khaeb and Helmi Maruru, a member of the management committee.
The withdrawal did not affect Swapo councillor Sophia Upite.
The four were suspended on 16 December, supposedly on instruction of the Swapo district executive committee.
Based on this district executive's directive to suspend, Mutilifa ordered the four to vacate council offices in terms of the Local Authorities Act, which stipulates that a member of a local authority council shall vacate his or her office if he or she is withdrawn by the political party that had nominated him or her for election.
Mutilifa requested the councillors to hand in all council property in their possession, including the mayoral chain, office keys and car keys.
The Swapo district coordinator at Okahandja, Martha Mwadingi, dismissed the recall of the councillors and in fact wrote a letter in December to Mutilifa informing her that the letter from the Swapo district executive was not legitimate as the district executive has no authority to recall any councillor.
“It can only recommend to the regional executive committee. Proper investigations on the authors of the letter will be done and all necessary steps will be taken against the culprits,” reads the letter.
Mwandingi this week reiterated her stance that the four councillors are not suspended. “We did not recall anybody,” she said.
Mutilifa was suspended with full pay by the management committee on 24 December to allow the council to investigate allegations related to abuse of funds, corruption, fraud and insubordination.
She refused to comment on the matter, saying: “I have nothing to comment, just confirm with your sources.”
Nunda, the municipality's executive for finance, IT and asset management, has been appointed to act as CEO for three months.
The swearing-in of office bearers has been postponed to a later date.