WINDHOEK - Otjombinde Constituency Councillor Katjanaa Kaurivi, who made history in 2015 when he stood and won an election for the first time in the country’s history as an independent candidate, says he is ready to stand again as an independent candidate in next year’s regional council elections.
Kaurivi, still a Swapo card-carrying member, decided to run as an independent candidate in the 2015 regional council elections after the outcome of disputed Swapo primaries, in which he lost the party candidature to then Otjombinde Constituency Councillor Karii Marenga.
The result of the 2015 regional council election in Otjombinde Constituency in Omaheke saw Kaurivi thrashing Marenga with 1 396 votes to 681 to win the emotionally-charged race.
Kaurivi, speaking to New Era yesterday, said when he took the decision to stand as an independent candidate in 2015,
then Omaheke Swapo regional coordinator Kejamuina Mungendje verbally asked him to resign from the party, an instruction he refused to comply with.
“In 2015 when I took the decision to stand as an independent candidate, Mungendje verbally asked me to resign but said no. I said ‘if I have to resign then you should put it in writing’ but he never came back to me. As it stands I am a Swapo card-carrying member,” he said.
Asked what his thoughts were on speculation that some of his Swapo comrades were contemplating standing as independent candidates in this year’s presidential election, a cautious Kaurivi reacted: “Oh, let me not comment on that one.”
However, he encourages other politicians, especially those at regional and local authority levels to stand as independent candidates.
He said as an independent candidate one only reports to the electorate instead of the political party, which at many times advances its own interest at the expense of the electorate.
“When you look at Swapo here (Omaheke), there are groupies – these groupies are hindering service delivery in constituencies because what they care about is their own interest instead of that of voters,” he said. “You were elected to serve the people but you are here forming groups - what is that? It pains me,” he added.
Kaurivi continued: “Yes, I have challenges as a sole candidate – in most cases I am sidelined by fellow councillors, projects that are supposed to go to my constituency [Otjombinde] are being shifted to other constituencies, to make me look as if I am doing nothing to my people but that’s politics, that’s politics for you.”
He said because of Swapo’s majority in the regional council in most cases he does not get support from fellow councilors. He said this was understandable because “I embarrassed them [Swapo]” in the last election.
Kaurivi says despite the cold shoulder he receives from fellow councillors he has managed to facilitate the setting up of a mobile clinic, construction of auction kraals and the setting up of an NBC tower at Helena village.
For the NBC tower Kaurivi thanked the Minister of Information and Communication Technology Stanley Simataa for listening to his constituency’s plight.
Also, he said he facilitated an electrical fence on the Namibia-Botswana border.
Similarly, Kaurivi says he is currently lobbying for the setting up of a mobile clinic, auction kraals and mobile police station at Okatumba gate.