SWAKOPMUND – The United Democratic Front and Swapo have forged a marriage so Swapo can take over the chairpersonship of the Erongo Regional Council seat and keep other political parties out even after the re-election of the Swakopmund constituency councillor.
Swapo councillor Benitha Imbamba was elected on Monday to replace Ciske Smith-Howard who resigned from her position as the chairperson in April this year. This is after councillors, Donatus Tegako and Ernst Wetha tendered a vote of no-confidence against her, a month before she was ousted by the Independent Patriots for Change last month.
Howard also served as the Swakopmund constituency councillor as IPC occupied three seats and the backing of UDF through councillor Kennedy !Haoseb who had the decision-making vote in the council as UDF was previously in coalition with IPC.
However, UDF president Apius Auchab yesterday told New Era they are now backing Swapo to also make sure that the August elections will have no effect on the chairperson position.
“The previous agreement we had with IPC was a verbal agreement in the first place, but they did not honour their agreement. IPC was under obligation to come back to us and tell us what was happening in their house. They never informed us that they will be removing the chairperson while they know we had that verbal agreement in place, nor did they discuss any way forward,” Auchab said yesterday.
According to him, IPC always played their cards on their chest, hence UDF had to make a decision that will be beneficial for the region.
He then explained that previously, only Swapo and UDF reigned in Erongo, which was a good relationship at the end of the day.
“That is why we decided to join hands with Swapo so that development can take place. The newcomers just messed up. There were no tangible solutions, no meeting took place and that forced us to go back to the drawing board. We teamed up with Swapo once again as in politics you don’t have a permanent friend or permanent enemies,” Auchab said.
Wetha, who is also a member of Swapo and who replaced Imbamba as a member of the management committee, concurred with the chairperson’s sentiments, stressing that to deliver good quality services to the people, political differences should be put aside.
Meawhile, IPC, in a statement released last week, stated that in the light of the ever increasing voices of opposition political parties and the general public, given that IPC held the seat of Swakopmund constituency, the upcoming by-election shall test the true resolve and commitment of the so-called opposition political parties to work together.
“Will all vocal political parties singing the ‘coalition chorus’ refrain from participating in the Swakopmund by-election and allow IPC alone to contest a seat it held against the ruling party. That shall be the acid test against which IPC and the public must judge the true colours and words of opposition political parties’ preparedness to cooperate in saving Namibia from the jaws of the looting
Swapo party?” the statement reads.
According to IPC, the Swakopmund by-election may well be the ultimate litmus test to demonstrate such coalition intentions much talked about.
-Additional reporting by Nampa