Omaruru municipal officials ignore petitioning residents

18 Mar 2014 10:00am
OMARURU, 18 MAR (NAMPA) – A group of concerned Omaruru residents staged a peaceful demonstration against the operations of the town’s municipality on Monday.
About 50 people marched from the Ozondje residential area to the Omaruru Town Council’s building.
They had prepared a petition for the attention of the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Charles Namoloh, but the petition was never handed over as their demonstration was ignored by senior officials of the municipality.
In the petition, the group expressed concerns about the manner in which a number of Local Authority councillors were suspended during December 2013.
The group said the suspended councillors were democratically-elected, and complained that they have not been legally-charged since their suspension on 16 December.
The Omaruru Local Authority councillors were allegedly suspended by Namoloh after they had failed to implement recommendations from his office.
The seven suspended councillors, the majority of whom are from opposition parties, are Vincent Kahua from the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO); Albertus !Naruseb of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP); Christiaan Nanuseb from the United Democratic Front (UDF); the late Cretensia Garises from the RDP; and Johannes Hamutenya, Hendrina Gebhardt and Phillip Nghipandulwa from the Swapo-Party.
On 24 December 2013, Omaruru’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paul Ganaseb was also suspended.
The Omaruru concerned group also wanted to know why the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development appointed Linus //Garoeb as a representative of the ministry if the council had not been dissolved.
//Garoeb is the retired Chief Regional Officer of the Erongo Regional Council, and was appointed by Namoloh to manage the affairs of the council after the suspension of the councillors.
The group is also concerned about some capital projects which are allegedly on hold since the suspension of the local authority councillors and their CEO, Ganaseb.
They were referring to capital projects like the tarring of streets in the Ozondje residential area, the construction of low-cost houses and the channelling of potable and sewage water pipelines.
In the petition, they furthermore alleged that 47 casual and contracted general labourers working at the Omaruru Municipality will be laid off at the end of this month.
//Garoeb apparently refused to see the concerned group, or receive their petition on Monday.
Shortly after the group dispersed, he was reportedly seen walking around the municipal building.
Approached for comment, the Omaruru Corporate and Community Development Officer, Ephraim Katjatenja said the municipality could not say or do anything about the group’s concerns as a forensic audit is being carried out at the town council.
He noted that the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is also busy investigating multiple complaints at the council.
“There is nothing we can do for now,” he stated.
Katjatenja and three other colleagues were on suspension last year after several accusations were levelled against them by the suspended councillors.
He was suspended on the basis that he allegedly does not hold authentic qualifications.
The town council’s Manager for Human Resources, Roswitha Kaura, was allegedly also suspended for leaking confidential information, while the fleet management’s clerk, Walter Kanguatjivi and Finance manager Penda Nghaamwa, who is now acting as CEO, were suspended on accusations of insubordination.
The four officials were reinstated on 17 December 2013, a day after the Omaruru Local Authority councillors were suspended by Namoloh.