Swapo’s Windhoek municipal councillors who ignored party directives not to participate in a vote of no confidence in the management committee (MC) or partake in any form of coalition, are off the hook.
In an unfamiliar turn of events, the ruling party has now thrown its weight behind their representatives, positing that the City of Windhoek was on autopilot during the reign of the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC)-controlled MC.
Swapo now says its councillors complied with the Local Authorities Act and rules guiding municipal affairs.
“After due consideration of the precarious state of leadership in the MC at the time, the body tasked with the key mandate to implement council resolutions, the Swapo Party councillors, in consultation with the regional executive committee, unanimously deemed it necessary to partake in the scheduled election in order to guarantee timeous service delivery to the city’s inhabitants,” Swapo Khomas coordinator Eliot Mbako wrote in a missive seen by New Era. It is dated 25 August.
Last week, Swapo councillors serving on the Windhoek council refused to heed a party directive not to participate in the process that toppled the IPC from the powerful implementing structure.
“The meeting of the Swapo Party Khomas regional executive committee of 11 August 2022 resolved that Swapo party councillors must abstain from any vote of no confidence
at the City of Windhoek chambers,” Mbako said in an earlier directive, which fell on deaf ears. In the past, Swapo councillors across the country would religiously implement instructions coming from the regional leadership or national headquarters.
Orders would include which councillor would occupy key positions such as mayor, deputy mayor as well as the composition of the MC at Swapo-dominated local authorities.
This phenomenon, now, appears to be a thing of the past.
“These things are not cast in stone. Elected officials cannot be given instructions without questioning. We must be able to sit around the table and decide what is in the best interest of the party and residents. So, the regional leadership might have a position. But that position can change, subject to consultation. That is the new Swapo we want to see,” a
Swapo councillor said anonymously.
Booted last week, the previous MC, which courted controversy for its stance against the appointment of a CEO, comprised IPC quartet Ndeshihafela Larandja (MC chairperson), Jürgen Hecht, Otillie Uukule, Ben Araeb and Landless People’s Movement politician Ivan Skrywer.
The new MC is made up of Swapo’s Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma and Austin Kwenani, Affirmative Repositioning’s Ilse Keister (chairperson), Skrywer and Clemencia Hanases from the Popular Democratic Movement.
Keister detonated that motion which eventually led to the IPC-dominated MC’s demise.
According to Mbako, Swapo will not stand aside and watch while the city’s affairs degenerate.
“Participation in the management committee is crucial in ensuring that the decisions of the local authority are implemented… the Swapo councillors remain dedicated, disciplined and are well-aware that their priority at the CoW is to ensure effective service delivery,” he advanced.
Two years ago, a Windhoek coalition of which Swapo formed a part was unheard of as the opposition was determined to keep the ruling party at bay.
Two coalitions later, the opposition could not find consensus on key issues, with the council largely reduced to political bickering and power tussles.
Now, the unthinkable has happened: Swapo, LPM, PDM and Nudo are a united force running Windhoek as coalition partners.
Meanwhile, the IPC, once a power to be reckoned with in the council, has effectively been pushed to the periphery of decision-making. – firstname.lastname@example.org