The Popular Democratic Movement has wielded the axe to suspend its Katutura Central constituency councillor Vezemba Rodman Katjaimo over a failed European trip that put the party at sixes and sevens.
The decision to suspend the embattled politician was taken by the PDM’s management committee.
The suspension is with immediate effect, pending the outcome of a hearing into Katjaimo’s conduct by the party’s disciplinary committee.
Katjaimo is barred from representing the PDM in any way, shape or form, the party’s secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe said in a statement.
“He [Katjaimo] may not represent the movement publicly or in any other forum. He may not make public pronouncements on matters related to the movement. He may not engage in mass mobilisation of PDM structures,” Ngaringombe emphasised.
Katjaimo, who is on a PDM ticket in the Khomas Regional Council (KRC), may not execute any functions pertaining to the Katutura Central constituency on behalf of the party.
“Pending the outcome of his disciplinary hearing, he is instructed not to carry out his duties and functions in the KRC, which includes a prohibition from accessing the Katutura Central constituency office,” he added.
Without being specific, Ngaringombe said the PDM disciplinary committee will soon provide Katjaimo with a charge-sheet detailing his perceived crimes.
The failed trip saw about 198 Namibians pump in around N$12.9 million to allegedly cater for air tickets and accommodation.
The contingent, which paraded itself as sport fanatics, was destined for Birmingham, England for the Commonwealth Games.
The games ended last month without any of the group setting foot in England.
But details have emerged to suggest that the Commonwealth Games were simply a ruse by Katjaimo and his group. Their aim was to go and seek asylum in the UK.
It is also alleged that Katjaimo diverted some funds meant for the trip for his personal use.
He furthermore stands accused of having used a public office for self-gratification, embezzlement, fraud, theft and money-laundering.
Fourteen participants have already enlisted human rights lawyer Norman Tjombe in their quest to get refunds from the former sports presenter.
Katjaimo continues to court controversy.
New Era has also established that the councillor does not stay in the constituency he leads.
Instead, he lives in one of Windhoek’s better-off locations – Rocky Crest – while presiding over the affairs of one of the poorest, Katutura Central.
This is illegal, according to the Regional Councils Act, which dictates that a councillor must be a resident of the constituency for which he or she is elected.
Rocky Crest is in the Windhoek West constituency.
Article 17(2) of the Namibian Constitution says no person shall be qualified to be a member of a regional council unless he or she “is ordinarily resident within the constituency for which he or she is elected, or if such person is not so resident at the time of his or her election, becomes so ordinarily resident within a period of three months as from the date of his or her election as such a member.”
Katjaimo on Tuesday confirmed owning a house in Rocky Crest, but denied living in it.
“I have a house in Rocky Crest, where my family resides. My wife is a teacher at Concordia, and my kids attend school in Hochland Park. [It] is very convenient for them, but I rent a backyard flat in Katutura at my uncle’s house,” he said earlier this week.