Former Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu has lost faith in the current municipal council’s management committee (MC), saying it has lost the service delivery compass.
She also accused the MC of placing individual interests ahead of residents.
Apart from Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement councillor Ilse Keister, who invoked a motion of no confidence in the MC last month, Kahungu becomes the
second Windhoek councillor to openly pass a no confidence vote in the MC.
During an interview which covered an avalanche of issues, including her political ambitions, Swapo’s internal politics and women’s empowerment, Kahungu did not mince her words when passing judgement in the MC, and by extension the entire council.
All in all, she conceded, both have failed to live up to the masses’ expectations.
“The management committee has a responsibility to see to it that council resolutions are implemented. [But] the management committee has other resolutions to implement,” she stated.
Keister’s motion will be settled on 22 August 2022, following requests by affected MC members to be given more time to mount a defence.
Kahungu is seemingly in agreement with Keister, who asserted in her motion that the MC has exposed the municipality to an unsanctioned third force.
“Or maybe the way they prioritise the implementation of resolutions is not to our satisfaction,” she added.
According to her, the MC has made it a priority to fight against the recruitment of a substantive CEO.
“At the local authority level, you need to forget about yourself and put the residents first. Otherwise, if you lose track and you put efforts in fighting wars of the CEO, you allow yourself to be used by officials so that you don’t concentrate on the provision of basic services, but on issues directly benefiting individuals. This is where we got lost in the system,” reasoned Kahungu.
This, however, is to the detriment of service delivery that Windhoek’s residents and ratepayers yearn for.
“We are supposed to work together and put pressure or encourage our officials to do the work that will benefit many residents. But this is not happening,” she lamented.
What is more, Kahungu said, she had high hopes in the current council as it is predominantly composed of youthful politicians and activists.
She was wrong.
“What makes me angry is that our council is composed of more youthful people, whom you expect to be on the ground and find out from the residents, and after finding out, use all that to pressurise the minister [of urban development] and others to give us funds so that we implement our council resolutions,” she said candidly.
If the council does not get its act together, they risk becoming a laughing stock, she cautioned.
“It pains me a lot because in the end, we will not satisfy what brought us here, and honour the oath that we would be coming here to serve the needs of the people who sent us here,” she noted.
Kahungu serves on the council on a Swapo ticket.
However, Swapo councillors have been accused of having taken a wait-and-see approach, hardly coming up with any motions seeking to unchain the masses from the yoke of poverty.
In an earlier interview, political analyst Fanuel Kaapama said nothing stops Swapo councillors from coming up with a motion geared at service delivery, and getting a buy-in from the other councillors in the chamber.
“There are five Swapo councillors, but there is very little that we are seeing of them,” he observed.
Kahungu disputed this analysis.
“Now and then, we table motions to council, which are aimed at providing services to the people. Three out of five Swapo councillors are chairing very important committees,” she said.
Kahungu chairs a committee dealing with providing basic services, while her Swapo compatriots Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma and Austin Kwenani chair the committees on financial sustainability and the economy, respectively.
“We influence the provision [of services through these committees]. On my own committee of providing basic services, we are doing very well when it comes to electricity, water and sanitation,” she added.