Swapo councillor Hileni Idhogela yesterday prevailed as the new mayor of Oniipa local authority, replacing the embattled David Kambonde after a fierce election, which lasted for more than three hours.
The ceremony was first scheduled for last Friday, but was postponed to yesterday. Patema Nakanyala of the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) was elected deputy mayor. The voting process was rocked by chaos after Idhogela initially declined to be nominated as mayor by an IPC councillor, saying she would only accept nomination from Swapo councillors.
At that point, presiding magistrate Gabriela Peresterelo had to adjourn the proceedings to allow the party members to caucus and reach consensus. Re-elected management committee chairperson Jafet Augustus nominated her in the process. According to insiders, Kambonde was voted out after he nominated an IPC member to the management committee.
That issue saw his short-lived suspension by the Oniipa Swapo district, a decision that was quashed by the regional executive committee. Sources further alleged his close relationship with CEO Junias Jakob is another reason for his removal, claiming he has been favouring the accounting officer. Kambonde refused to comment yesterday, saying he was in a meeting.
Equally, Idhogela’s phone went unanswered despite text messages sent to her. Other members of the management committee include Kambonde and Selma Namuhuja of IPC.
Petrus Nakanyala and David Hifikepunye are ordinary council members. An irate resident, who requested anonymity, told New Era the new leadership should address service delivery issues instead of prioritising petty politicking.
“We hope they are going to work this time around, because these people (councillors) have just been fighting each other since ascending to those roles, with little to no tangible development. We are really tired of them advancing personal matters at the expense of delivering services to the masses,” said the resident.