IPC councillor back in office

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IPC councillor back in office

Eveline de Klerk

SWAKOPMUND – Erongo chief regional officer Habate Doeses acted outside her powers when she prohibited the council’s chairperson Ciske Smith-Howard from conducting her official duties. 

This is according to recommendations made by attorney general Festus Mbandeka to the urban development ministry on 2 February this year when the ministry roped them in for legal advice in connection with Smith-Howard’s situation that has been ongoing since October last year.  

Smith-Howard was restrained by her party, the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), after allegations surfaced that she has not been residing in the Swakopmund constituency, where she was elected into office in 2020. As a result, Doeses issued an internal memo on 27 October last year, prohibiting Smith-Howard from conducting her official duties as the chairperson, while the IPC launched an investigation into the allegations. 

Mbandeka said in his legal advice to the ministry that it appears as if Smith-Howard was not informed directly of the IPC’s decision to remove her from her duties. 

“The IPC has the powers conferred to it by the Regional Councils Act, However, in order to remove its member, the principles of natural justice should be applied.

We reiterate that neither the IPC nor the CRO is sure that Smith-Howard has violated the Regional Council’s Act. We thus advise the ministry to inform the IPC to align their intended action against their member to follow the outlined procedure,” Mbandeka’s legal opinion reads. 

Meanwhile, Doeses on Monday issued an internal memo to inform regional councillors that the memo prohibiting Smith-Howard from executing her duties has been withdrawn. “Honourable councillors, kindly be informed that the urban development ministry obtained legal advice on behalf of the council from the attorney general, who in his letter advised that the memo be withdrawn. This letter serves to withdraw the internal meme dated 27 October 2021,” Doeses stated.


Back in office

Smith-Howard yesterday confirmed to New Era that she is back in office and will focus on the development of the region, going forward. She added that her restraint had a negative impact both at her constituency office and as chairperson of the management committee. “These last months have been very difficult for me. I am a worker… I want to work for the people. It has been difficult to be kept away from office, and I will rectify that as soon as possible,” she said yesterday. According to her, she will make sure council duties get back on track as there are a few resolutions that need urgent attention. “My first order of business is to unite council so that we leave personal politics behind and work together. The Erongo Regional Council is one of the strongest councils in Namibia, and I want to make sure our people remain our main priority,”. Smith-Howard added.