City of Windhoek coalition partners have castigated Independent Patriots for Change leader Panduleni Itula, whom they accused of going behind their backs and negotiating with the Landless People’s Movement to join the ‘progressive forces’.
The move has effectively meant the end of the coalition.
IPC spokesperson Imms Nashinge on Monday confirmed to New Era that the party was indeed in talks with the LPM for a possible coalition in the City of Windhoek.
In fact, he said, the IPC has been in coalition arrangements with the LPM in the local authorities of Oranjemund, Lüderitz, Aranos, Kalkrand, Okahandja and Swakopmund, and it has been working well in some of the towns by
maintaining the status quo in the elections of office-bearers.
In the letter to Itula signed by coalition convener and Nudo secretary general Josef Kauandenge, coalition leaders said they would not be party to any framework cooked and discussed elsewhere outside of the signed coalition agreement.
“We take strong exception to the fact that you denied when quizzed by the honourable McHenry Venaani on why you were negotiating with the LPM individually, without the collective principals.
Clearly, you did not take us into confidence. Even with your denial, the truth eventually came out.
“We have no principled problem of any sort to work, but we will not accept the dictatorial tendencies by yourself to make framework agreements without informing us about the content thereof, and your denial in this matter is disappointing”, reads the letter also signed by PDM president Venaani and Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement leader Job Amupanda on Monday.
The letter further stated that the coalition leaders do not have a problem with any political party represented in council to join the ‘progressive forces’.
In fact, they said clause 12 of the coalition agreement permits such parties to join the coalition.
In a press conference yesterday, Amupanda stated that he wasn’t comfortable with how Itula has managed the IPC’s city councillors, and said the repeated restraining of the party’s representatives had negatively impacted the municipality.
He added that the AR was looking into the possibility of IPC councillors having to pay back the allowances they received while they were “restrained”.
Amupanda now also looks forward to “robust contributions” from council’s ordinary seats as he would not have the responsibility of being mayor anymore, as per the coalition agreement that rotates the mayorship.
In what appears to be a collapsed coalition, the IPC has four seats, AR two, while PDM and Nudo each have one seat, bringing the total number of seats to eight. Those outside the progressive forces include Swapo with five seats, and the LPM with two seats. Itula was yesterday unavailable for comment as his phone went unanswered.
Meanwhile, political commentator and University of Namibia (Unam) lecturer in Rhetorical Studies and English, Gerson Sindano said coalition parties cannot afford to collapse as doing so will provide the Swapo party an opportunity to place all the blame of political dysfunction on the coalition forces.
Furthermore, Swapo might use the political impasse among the coalition forces to mount its own political trajectory of forming alliances with other political parties who are willing to collaborate.
“It appears that the AR movement was very instrumental in forming coalition forces with other political parties as it was aiming for a mayoral position,” he stated.
“It remains to be seen if other political parties will agree on who should be the next candidate for the mayoral position. What does it mean for coalition politics throughout the country? Whatever happens in the political theatre in the Windhoek City council will surely have a ripple-effect on the whole country”, Sindano reasoned.
He added that coalitions are a political testing ground to determine Namibia’s political maturity, going forward.
LPM spokesperson Eneas Emvula said the LPM has been privy to the content of the existing coalition agreement, and had distanced themselves for the reasons they have expressed on several occasions, including the 'fact' that the agreement was not structured in a way that would allow the current coalition to address fundamental issues facing the city as a collective.
“We have from time to time stated through our communication platforms that our suspicion is that the coalition in its current form and basis on which it was structured risks collapsing. It now seems that it is more likely to”, he stressed.
He noted that the LPM has always maintained its commitment to sit around a table and work out an agreement that can and will improve what has been achieved thus far by the city council.
“Our only terms and conditions are and will be that fundamental issues as stated above form part of what such a coalition agreement will effectively deliver, “he said.
“We can in fact at this juncture indicate that the IPC/LPM’s possible coalition negotiations for the City of Windhoek have been on the right track, and have advanced ever since the IPC hinted the need to have us enter into a coalition with them,” he noted.