Venaani takes aim at regional councils law…says ‘over 30 northern councillors stay outside constituencies’

Home National Venaani takes aim at regional councils law…says ‘over 30 northern councillors stay outside constituencies’
Venaani takes aim at regional councils law…says ‘over 30 northern councillors stay outside constituencies’

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani says Katutura Central constituency councillor Vezemba Rodman Katjaimo is not the only councillor that resides outside his constituency. 

According to the politician, there are over 30 others in northern Namibia, who do not stay in constituencies they lead. 

While conceding that it is illegal for constituency councillors not to reside in constituencies where they were elected, Venaani hit out at the law.  

“In law, it is a transgression. But the law must be amended. There are about 35 councillors in Owambo regions [the northern regions] that lead constituencies where they do not reside,” he said before turning to Margaret Mensah -Williams, the erstwhile National Council chairperson. 

“Mensah led the [Khomasdal North constituency] for 15 years while staying in Academia and not in Khomasdal North. But Mr Katjaimo defended himself, saying he is renting a backyard flat in Katutura Central. So, the disciplinary committee will look into it. If he is found guilty, he could be told to come back to his constituency. But that is up to the committee,” he said. 

Venaani, seemingly coming in Katjaimo’s defence, said this during an interview with popular Omurari FM talk show, ‘Keetute’, last week.

New Era reported recently that Katjaimo does not stay in Katutura Central but instead lives in Rocky Crest, an illegality according to the Regional Councils Act, which states that a councillor must be a resident of the constituency for which he or she is elected.

Rocky Crest is in the Windhoek West constituency. 

Article 17(2) of the Namibian Constitution says no person shall be qualified to be a member of a regional council unless he or she “is ordinarily resident within the constituency for which he or she is elected, or if such person is not so resident at the time of his or her election, becomes so ordinarily resident within a period of three months as from the date of his or her election as such a member.”

Last week, Katjaimo admitted owning a house in Rocky Crest but denied living in it. 

“I have a house in Rocky Crest, where my family resides. My wife is a teacher at Concordia, and my kids attend school in Hochland Park. [It] is very convenient for them, but I rent a backyard flat in Katutura at my uncle’s house,” he said.

Katjaimo has been fingered as the focal person in a scheme that saw 198 Namibians pay around N$12.9 million to allegedly attend the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. 

The trip never came to fruition due to strict immigration laws. 

Now, the councillor stands accused of fraud, theft, abuse of public office for self-gratification and possible human trafficking. 

The politician has since been suspended, pending an outcome of a PDM sanctioned investigation. 

He is barred from representing the movement in any way, shape or form, pending the outcome of the investigation. 

Venaani also urged party members not to use the scandal for political expediency. He also distanced himself from Katjaimo’s scheme, saying not a single cent reached his pocket.