PDM reverses Katjaimo ‘blunder’

Mathias Haufiku,Jemima Beukes
Embattled Katutura Central constituency councillor Rodman Katjaimo has emerged out of the political wilderness after the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) rescinded its decision to suspend him, saying that by doing so, it flouted its own constitution.

Since his suspension two months ago, the more than 21 000 residents of Katutura Central were without a political head, with Katjaimo having been banned from carrying out regional council activities.

He is, however, still banned from engaging in PDM activities, and can only deal with regional council matters.

His suspension stemmed from allegations that he had embezzled millions paid by his constituency residents when he engineered a trip to the Commonwealth Games, which took place in August in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The trip never saw the light of day.

‘Hoax’

On Monday, PDM chairperson Ricky Vries informed Katjaimo that his suspension had been lifted.

This amid talks within the party’s top ranks that Vries lifted the suspension without consulting the party’s management committee.

One of the leaders, who spoke anonymously, called the suspension a “hoax”, while another said Vries cannot make such a drastic decision without the blessing of the management committee.

Party leader McHenry Venaani, who has been accused of treating Katjaimo with kid gloves, leapt to Vries’ defence, saying: “The PDM constitution has given unflinching powers to the chairperson, who heads discipline, and to the chair of the disciplinary committee with all judicial powers when statutory bodies refer matters to him”.

Vries too emphasised that he did not need anyone’s blessings to make the decision.

He lifted Katjaimo’s suspension because the Regional Council Act only allows for the recalling of a councillor, he said.

Couldn’t wait

Meanwhile, Vries said he is not sure whether the party informed the Khomas regional council when the decision was initially made to suspend Katjaimo.

“I doubt we did that, but I have to find out. On the suspension, we had to lift it because we don’t have the right to suspend him and the council only makes provision for when a councillor is recalled.

“We don’t want to recall him; the disciplinary committee is yet to decide. So, I - as the head of disciplinary committee - could not wait any longer so I made that decision and informed the secretary-general Manuel Ngaringombe,” he said.

Before the suspension was lifted, Ngaringombe told Namibian Sun that the disciplinary committee was expected to sit with Katjaimo on 14 February 2023 to discuss the matter.

“People must stop, we are not a small party that was born yesterday. I know the matter is serious,” he said.

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Namibian Sun 2022-11-27

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