The Grootfontein municipality has been left rudderless since the term of the elected office- bearers lapsed last month.
As it stands, no council meeting will be held. Therefore, crucial decisions pertaining to the town’s development and service delivery can no longer be discussed and implemented, other than those already approved. This comes after Swapo’s district leadership recalled one of its councillors, Talitha Garises.
Prior to that, the swearing-in ceremony was postponed twice after Swapo, citing internal processes, submitted a request for the postponement.
The local authority council consists of four Swapo members, two Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) councillors and one from the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM).
“We recalled one of our members after it was established that she was advancing her own individual agenda, which is against the interests of the party,” explained Grootfontein district coordinator John Haimbodi when contacted for comment.
“She was trying to collude with opposition parties so that she could be elected as mayor with them [opposition] to serve in the management committee. This is something wrong, as her intention was to topple the party from power, which is the majority. So, her joining the opposition clips our authority.”
Haimbodi anticipates that the process might go up to March 2022, although this depends on how early the vacancy is published in the Government Gazette.
‘I am innocent’
Approached for comment, the recalled councillor denied colluding with the opposition.
“I don’t know how and in which way I have been lobbying and negotiating with the opposition. Maybe my crime was to reject being a management committee chairperson as per the wishes of the party, while I preferred that of mayor,” stated Garises.
She further countered: “It is the leadership of Haimbodi and his cronies who wanted to bribe the IPC to form a coalition, but yet they turn things on me. I have all the evidence since December 2020 when they started cooking issues against me, so what is happening today is nothing new.”
Garises, who served as a management committee member, further argued that she is being victimised because she refused to adhere to instructions.
Not too good
The town’s CEO, Kisco Sinvula, has admitted that the delay in constituting a new council could have an adverse impact on the local authority’s development.
For the time being, the CEO feels there will be no harm administratively as they are busy carrying out approved tasks.
“We shall be affected in the long run when it comes to policy matters because that is where councillors’ blessing is needed as they have to endorse. However, administratively, we are fine as some powers are delegated to the CEO,” added Sinvula.
Meanwhile, IPC chief whips coordinator Christoph /Uirab, speaking in his personal capacity, said he was not in support of how things are unfolding at the Grootfontein municipality, arguing that if Swapo had internal issues, it should have dealt with them without interfering with the town’s operations.
“This is a serious concern to all of us, that we are in this dilemma created by a single party, of which the effects heavily descend on innocent voters. If there is no council, who is there to act and speak on behalf of the masses? This is a bad move indeed, which I am not happy with,” he stressed.
/Uirab thus reasoned that if Swapo had acted in the interest of the masses, it should have allowed the swearing-in to take place and then deal with their internal matters later to allow the smooth running of council activities.