• July 10th, 2020

Swapo loses court battle to replace councillor



Deputy Judge President Hosea Angula last week ordered Swapo Party not to remove Katrina Shimbulu as councillor of the Oshakati Town Council. Shimbulu lodged an urgent application at the High Court after she was furnished with a letter informing her she was to be removed from the council she served from 16 December last year as an elected councillor on the ticket of the ruling party. Angelina Kamwanka had replaced her.

Swapo Party, its secretary general and the Politburo were cited as respondents in the matter. They raised three objections, namely non-joinder of Kamwanka, lack of urgency and dirty hands. Angula dismissed the objections and granted Shimbulu the relief she sought.  
Swapo and the party secretary general Sophia Shaningwa are interdicted and restrained from implementing the decision to remove Shimbulu and replace her with Kamwanka pending the finalisation of the application to declare the decision unconstitutional, alternatively unlawful, illegal and null and void. Shimbulu’s main gripe was that she was not allowed to be heard before the decision to remove her was made and that the decision was based on irrelevant consideration and capricious grounds. Shaningwa denied this claim and substantiated in an affidavit, filed with the court, that Shimbulu was given the opportunity to be heard during the investigation. 

However, Angula said this argument is untenable and does not raise a serious dispute of facts. “First, proper audi cannot take place during investigations,” he said.

“The audi, in compliance with the dictates of the constitution and common law, envisages that the affected person is given a hearing, where that person is afforded an opportunity to hear the allegations against him or her; to cross-examine the witnesses and to testify in his or her defence, and to be given the reasons for the verdict.”

The judge further made reference to Shaningwa’s argument that because Shimbulu resigned from her position as councillor in October 2019 to be on the Swapo Party list for the National Assembly, her return to the council violates both the Constitution and the party rules and regulations. “In my view, this statement is an anathema to the rule of law upon which our constitution is firmly anchored,” he stressed.
Henry Shimutwikeni represented Shimbulu, while Slysken Makando appeared for the respondents. 
–  rrouth@nepc.com.na
 


Roland Routh
2020-06-08 09:35:16 | 1 months ago

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