Grootfontein municipality CEO Kisco Sinvula has defended a decision to postpone last week’s election and swearing-in ceremony of office-bearers serving on the local authority’s council, following a request by the ruling party, Swapo.
Sinvula said that an accounting officer has the duty to arrange and set dates for the swearing-in ceremony in consultation with the local magistrate.
Swapo’s district coordinator John Haimbodi last week wrote to Sinvula, requesting for leniency and extension to the initial ceremony date, saying the party was still concluding internal procedures in relation to the deployment of its councillors.
“The district leadership did not have time to oversee the district meeting to discuss the redeployment of the councillors. It’s against this background that, as a district party leader, I am proposing the ceremony be postponed to 30 November,” said Haimbondi in a letter dated 25 November.
This was much to the chagrin of the opposition parties who came out fuming, accusing the CEO and the magistrate of colluding to serve the interest of the Swapo, adding that such a decision can only be entertained when raised and discussed within 72 hours.
The swearing-in ceremony was due to take place on 26 November, while the objection was submitted the preceding day.
“There is nothing like Swapo bulldozed such a postponement, but anyone is allowed to express their objections on solid grounds – and if the magistrate deems it fit, he shall grant that to a more suitable time,” briefly said Sinvula.
The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe condemned the decision, arguing that under sections 11 and 12 of the Local Authority Act, there is no provision that permits any political party to request for a postponement.
The Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) had also objected to the decision on similar grounds.
In a correspondence seen by New Era, the Grootfontein magistrate Stanley Tembwe, who was supposed to preside over the matter, granted the permission for a postponement.
In the same reply, he delegated another magistrate to oversee the proceedings on Tuesday because he will be out of town on official duties.