City of Windhoek labelled a disgrace

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City of Windhoek labelled a disgrace

Edward Mumbuu

Loide Jason


No substantive CEO. No mayor. No deputy mayor. No management committee. 

This is the reality of Namibia’s main economic pulse and capital city, Windhoek. 

This comes when the Windhoek council failed to elect office bearers for the current year, following decisions by Swapo and Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) councillors to stage a walk during the election of office bearers in December.

The city’s top legal brain, Ngatatue Kandovazu, was not conservative with the truth last year when he informed council that a leadership void exists in the city. 

“In the absence of the elections, a hiatus is created, which is best resolved through the calling of elections as envisaged by the aforementioned sections,” Kandovazu said in a legal note to council. 

 “It is my considered view that in light of the hiatus created that is the nonexistence in the law of the mayor, deputy mayor and management committee (inclusive its chairperson), a meeting calling for the election of office bearers should be scheduled as to address the lacuna that exists,” he advised. 

This reality has seemingly caught the last known Windhoek mayor, Sade Gawanas, by surprise.  “Is there a leadership void?” Gawanas asked yesterday. 

While Windhoek waited with bated breath for the appointment of full-time CEO Conrad Lutombi, who came first in the race for the coveted position, he rejected the offer. 

Instead, he decided to stay with his current employer, the Roads Authority, after accepting a three-year contract extension. 

Lutombi, New Era is reliably informed, is still weighing his options, as some of the city’s powerbrokers are hellbent to hire him by any means necessary. 

Meanwhile, Otjiwarongo CEO Moses Matyayi is understood to have packed his bags and is ready to join the biggest council in the land should the status quo remain. 

Matyayi came second in the controversial recruitment process. 

Contacted for comment, Matyayi opted to reserve his comment for now.

“I am not going to make any comment right now. Let us wait and hear what will happen,” he said.

The city has been without a substantive CEO since 2020 after Robert Kahimise resigned to join the Central-North Regional Electricity Distributor.



There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel, as the troubled council is expected to sit next week Monday to determine when office bearers will be elected, urban development minister Erastus Uutoni confirmed. 

Uutoni is hoping the election date will be determined at Monday’s meeting.

“I am briefed by the acting CEO that there will be a council meeting on the 16th of January. That meeting has to determine the way forward. That is all I can say. Let us all wait and see what will happen after the first meeting,” said Uutoni.

The city’s spokesperson Harold Akwenye told New Era they are waiting for the new council to be chosen for serious decisions to be taken, including the appointment of the CEO. 

“As soon as they are at the helm, they will either decide to appoint the candidate who scored second as per recommendation or re-advertise the position,” he explained.



Local political analysts weighed on the brouhaha that has engulfed the once cleanest city in Africa. 

Natjirikasorua Tjirera, a legal professional and political pundit, branded the state of affairs at the City of Windhoek “a complete disgrace”.  “It’s the clearest sign of a bunch of self-centred politicians who only have their own interests at heart. The councillors, being the elected officials and officially the direct representatives of the electorate, have shown that the interests of the voters are nowhere near their priorities,” Tjirera said. 

It is also his view that the majority of Windhoek is simply there for the lucrative perks that come with a seat on the council. 

At the moment, the Windhoek mayor receives a monthly salary of N$43 000, while the deputy earns N$39 000.

The MC chairperson is entitled to a monthly salary of N$36 000, while the remaining four management committee members collect N$32 000.

The eight ordinary councillors are paid N$30 000 each. They are also entitled to transport benefits. 

The mayor gets around N$10 000 a month as transport allowance, while the deputy mayor gets N$8 700 per month. 

The MC chairperson earns N$8 000 monthly as transport allowance. Management committee members receive N$7 000 as transport allowance, while ordinary councillors get N$6 000.

On top of this, the monthly allowance for council meetings is N$2 300, MC and extraordinary meetings N$1 500, while workshops, presentations and site visits earn councillors N$1 000.

The city also contributes up to 80% of the councillors’ medical aids. 

“It’s a shame that the City is paying dozens of thousands of dollars monthly in allowances to councillors, who are dismally failing the city. The City of Windhoek is in a sorry state and is literally a city on autopilot,” the lawyer added. 



Between 1990 and 2020, the city had known one ruler: Swapo. 

But in November 2020, for the first time, there was no outright majority party on the 15-member council. 

With five seats, Swapo was immediately relegated to the opposition benches, looking on as opposition parties form an umbrella coined ‘progressive forces’. 

It was composed of councillors from the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), IPC and the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo). 

At the time, the Landless People’s Movement refused to join the coalition. 

Two coalitions and two years later, political parties running Windhoek have struggled to find a formula that delivers basic services residents yearn for, including land and housing delivery. 

“If truth is to be told, the IPC and LPM last year shamelessly authorised the double-dipping of the Windhoek mayor in relation to her transport and vehicle allowance. The opposition has become masters of uncertainty and chameleonish tendencies,” Tjirera lamented.  He continued: “In one breath, they rejected the appointment of Lutombi – and in another breath, they approved. They have proved that they are creating a sea of confusion and now they are lost in that confusion they created themselves. 

“They cannot even appoint a CEO; they cannot put their egos aside. They can prioritise the voters. What alternative are they offering? They’re as bad, if not worse, than their friends in Swapo.”