Swapo plays kingmaker

Coalition partners AR, Nudo and PDM have threatened to divorce IPC – which is flirting with LPM – and the ruling party lying in wait.

24 November 2021 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES





· IPC wants LPM in and AR out

· Swapo could abstain from voting

· AR says Itula is obsessed with power

· LPM’s Skrywer touted as Job’s successor

· Coalition pact falls by the wayside



WINDHOEK

Discussions for coalitions are well underway with some coalition partners set to turn into enemies, and - believe it or not - the ruling Swapo Party could be the deciding factor during next week’s council polls.

At the moment, all indications are that the five Swapo councillors serving on the City of Windhoek council will abstain from voting, similar to last year’s voting session where outgoing mayor Job Amupanda was elected to serve as the political head of Windhoek.

However, Namibian Sun is told that Swapo may hold the balance after it emerged that some of the coalition members have started making informal advances to test the waters.

It remains to be seen how opposition parties - most having sworn till death never to jump into bed with Swapo - will navigate the political turbulence that has already brought down the coalition plane.

With time running out before council must elect new leaders, heated coalition talks have taken the public by surprise.

Swapo’s leader in council, Queen Kamati, refused to answer when asked whether the ruling party will vote or abstain next week and whether some of the coalition partners approached them to join forces. She referred all questions to the Khomas headquarters.

“Swapo Party is an organisation with structures in place and guided by policies and programmes,” she said yesterday.

In shambles

The four-party coalition is currently in shambles, with Nudo, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) and Affirmative Repositioning (AR) all ganging up on the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC).

The trio are not happy that IPC approached the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) to join the coalition.

“We do not have a problem with any political party represented in council to join the Progressive Forces,” the three wrote in a letter addressed to IPC leader Panduleni Itula on Monday.

Swapo councillors, it is understood, are playing their cards close to their chests to see how the fight between the coalition partners plays out.

Party insiders revealed that Swapo could go into a coalition if it is guaranteed to take charge of the management committee.

The ruling party needs partners with a combined three seats to have the majority on council.

Itula meddling claims

At a press conference yesterday, Amupanda expressed disappointment, accusing Itula of meddling in City affairs and limiting the powers of IPC councillors on decisions taken by the council. He said Itula deliberately restrained local authority councillors.

“The destructive nature of Dr Itula is very problematic and I am glad that as a collective we have also taken a decision with other coalition partners to address this specific issue of his conduct.

“You have councillors and they are not coming to meetings to discuss the issues. At the meeting, they cannot articulate their issues. How can a councillor just be reading all the time? It basically means that he is running those councillors from wherever he is and that is not conduct.”

Amupanda added that AR is not power-hungry and is ready to lead from the opposition benches as ordinary members of council.

“If we decide that we are not going to participate in elections, we will still continue to exist but some other actors don’t have the luxury of deciding.

“As a collective leadership, we are now taken seriously. It has not been easy. It has been the toughest thing because you have to keep your eye on the ball. It was easier for Swapo councillors. You didn’t need to be bright. You have the control of management committee, you have control of council and if you are struggling among each other, you just go to the Swapo headquarters and tell the coordinator to give a directive. Everybody will do exactly as you want as mayor,” he said.

LPM on call

Last month, LPM indicated its willingness to join the coalition, which is also referred to as the ‘Progressive Forces’. The party had shunned the coalition last year, and did not attend last week’s meeting.

LPM second in command Henny Seibeb told the media last week that they have to accelerate their talks with the IPC and perhaps join the coalition and see if they can take over some of these positions.

IPC spokesperson Imms Nashinge said there is nothing sinister about the talks between IPC and LPM as they have been voted into several local authorities where they are expected cooperate to deliver services.

“LPM is voted through normal democratic processes; they are part of the council. Why is that a surprise? Just wait, if there are such talks, definitely we will let the public know. The coalition is not a private members club, it belongs to everybody, if that is the case. They have a role to play, just like anybody else,” he said.

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