05 Dec 2018 19:30pm
OKAHANDJA, 05 DEC (NAMPA) The Swapo Partys Okahandja District Executive Committee (DEC) is standing by incumbent town mayor, Johannes Hindjou.
This despite a directive by Swapo Secretary-General (SG), Sophia Shaningwa that Hindjou should be replaced by her preferred candidate.
This position was reiterated by DEC member, Bethuel Tjaveondja at a media conference on Wednesday where the DEC aired its disappointment in what transpired last week, when the electoral process to elect a town mayor ended in tatters.
This was after residents who thronged the Council Chamber to witness the swearing in of the towns leadership caused havoc that led to the entire process being halted.
Our current mayor (Hindjou) must remain the mayor. Comrade Hileni Iita should be the deputy mayor. Our sitting chairperson (of the management committee), Gideon Uwu-Khaeb must retain the position. Comrade Helmi Maruru and Comrade Sofia Uupithe will be additional member of the management committee. That was the position (last week) and that is still the position of the district, Tjaveondja stated.
This is contrary to the team Shaningwa wants to lead the Garden Town.
In a letter dated 12 November 2018, seen by Nampa, Shaningwa instructed Swapos Coordinator for the Otjozondjupa Region, Susan Hikopua to effect changes to the partys local authority office bearers in Okahandja.
It is in this letter that Shaningwa made it clear that Hindjou must not retain his mayoral post, but that he should be demoted to an ordinary member of the council.
Shaningwa instead wants Sofia Uupithe to be elected as mayor.
If it goes her way, Uupithe is to be deputised by Uwu-Khaeb and Iita is to be the chairperson of the management committee.
The SG did not furnish the District Executive Committee with reasons as to why she wants these changes effected, something that does not sit well with them.
The DEC, as empowered by Swapo constitutions Rule 64, should effect changes to municipal council, and not the office of the Secretary General, they argued.
It also remains unknown why Shaningwa wants Uupithe to be the towns mayor, despite the fact that six of the seven councillors are in agreement that she is their weakest link.
Further, the DEC says it will not allow itself to be dictated to by someone who does not know the situation on the ground.
People can come up with their directives left, right and centre but they can play the ball (vote their preferred candidates) in the chamber as provided by the Local Authorities Act, Issaskar Katuuo, another DEC member asserted, in what seemed like a direct response to Shaningwas directive.
Asked if the councillors were not scared of being recalled for defying Shaningwa, they maintained their innocence, saying that they had not contravened any of the party's laws or procedures.
All Swapo councillors in the municipality attended the event, except for Uupithe.
Last week, Iita nominated Hindjou to retain his post.
Her fellow Swapo councillor - Maruru - seconded Hindjous nomination.
A date for another election is yet to be determined.