Swapo accused of ‘bulldozing’ Rundu land deal
25 November 2021 | Politics
The Rundu town council in October approved the sale of 4 828 square metres of land to the Swapo Party to build its Rundu district urban office. This despite the party having applied for just 1 500 square metres.
The land sale approval for the new office comes months after party president Hage Geingob inaugurated Swapo’s regional office in Rundu.
According to the council documents, the Swapo Rundu Urban district coordinator, Gabriel Hakusembe, applied for the land on 21 October 2019.
Council records show that Swapo councillors voted in favour of granting the party 4 828 square meters on 27 October 2021.
The party had initially only applied for 1 500 square metres.
Hakusembe wrote to the then Rundu acting CEO, Herman Haingura, about the district’s intent to acquire at least 1 500 square meters of land for the construction of its district office.
He said the district needs an office to operate from because “we cannot work from home”. He added that various funding models would be adopted to construct the office.
Conflict of interest
Opposition councillors allegedly attempted to thwart the land sale, but Swapo’s majority on council proved too difficult a hurdle to overcome.
It is understood that the four Swapo councillors forced for a voting process after the opposition councillors objected to the entire land sale.
Rundu mayor Gabriel Kanyanga, who served on the party’s Rundu Urban district executive committee when the land was applied for, now stands accused of conflict of interest after failing to recuse himself from the proceedings which approved the application.
“We wanted to know why the mayor won’t recuse himself and why they need such a big land for a district office [sic]. They did not want to listen to us and they went ahead and called for a vote simply because they are in majority,” a council insider revealed.
‘Not for public consumption’
Situated in Rundu’s Extension 8, the land is being sold at N$100 per square meter, meaning the ruling party will fork out N$482 800 to complete the transaction.
The land in question was previously leased to Pasinami Construction CC from November 2014 to October 2016, but council revoked the lease deal after the company failed to settle the purchase price within the agreed timeframe.
Ordinarily, Swapo districts countrywide do not have offices. Many councillors make use of private venues or the party’s regional headquarters for their meetings.
Despite the touted office, it is unclear what the rest of the land will be used for.
At the time of discussing the matter in chambers, Kanyanga evicted the media and members of the public from the meeting, saying “matters of land are not for public consumption”.
Attempts to get comment from him proved futile as his phone went unanswered while he ignored text messages for over a week.
It is not clear whether Kanyanga has rescinded his position on the Rundu Urban district executive committee.