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Rundu mayor sworn in amidst Swapo bickering

2020-03-11  John Muyamba

Rundu mayor sworn in amidst Swapo bickering

RUNDU – Rundu magistrate Hellen Olaiya who was invited by the Rundu Town Council to swear in the mayor and management only managed to install Isak Kandingu who retained his position as mayor, but the swearing-in ceremony of the town’s management was postponed.

The magistrate had asked for the nomination of a deputy mayor and Kandingu nominated councillor Ralf Ihemba who was absent but had communicated his acceptance through writing, so the nomination lapsed as no one seconded it and when she asked for another nomination all councillors were mum, which led to the postponement.

The magistrate then told the officials to get their house in order before they invite her again. “As for now, I cannot cross over to the management so I will have to postpone this matter. This time I’m not going to give a date. I will wait until the CEO invites me to come and swear in the people when everybody is available. Knock on my door when the relevant people are there,” said the magistrate.

Last Friday the swearing-in ceremony was postponed to Monday as the councillors had only elected Kandingu as the mayor, and he was pronounced duly elected. But when the magistrate requested for a nomination for the deputy mayor, the councillors did not respond, leading Olaiya to postpone the event to Monday though she later said she would consult on the best way forward. 

Rundu Urban Swapo district executive committee members on Friday raised their concerns before the proceedings that day that their councillors were taking oaths without their blessings and, thus, objected to the swearing in ceremony but the council went ahead.

 But on Monday just like last Friday the ceremony was postponed due to the lack of full participation from councillors who are said to have been divided on issues throughout their tenure.
“We have indicated to our seniors in Windhoek that the councillors that are on the ticket of Swapo party are not supposed to go ahead until party matters are resolved,” explained Swapo Rundu district mobiliser Gabriel Kanyanga.

“We have communicated with the acting CEO and I have a copy of the letter saying the swearing-in ceremony should not take place because the matter is still with the politburo and the politburo should direct the minister, and this matter is out of our hands; it is with the secretary general,” said Swapo Rundu Urban district coordinator Gabriel Hakusembe. 

However, Olaiya did not give Rundu’s acting CEO Sam Nekaro a chance to respond. She went on to perform her legal duties, saying she was invited to swear in the councillors and not to resolve internal political issues and that she should not be compelled to break the law. 

“I’m here to follow the law; to apply the law as it is, and if you feel that you are not ready, bring it to my attention. The act makes provision for a postponement but it must be communicated to me by the acting CEO – not any other person,” Olaiya said on Friday.

“If there is anyone who has a problem with the swearing-in, sort it out. As for me, I will proceed – and if I get interruptions, I will have no choice but to allow the police officers to remove whoever wants to interrupt the ceremony that brought me here,” Olaiya continued.

The councillors present on Monday were All People’s Party (APP) local authority councillor Mathews Wakudumo and the three Swapo local authority councillors who were recalled by the Rundu Urban Swapo district executive committee: Isak Kandingu, Toini Hausiku and Annastasia Shinduvi-Antonio. Reginald Ndara of Rundu Concerned Citizens Association was also present, while Ralph Ihemba (Swapo) was not available at the swearing-in ceremony.

2020-03-11  John Muyamba

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