Mushelenga enters local authority debacle

31 Jan 2019 15:00pm
WINDHOEK, 31 JAN (NAMPA) – The standoffs that have entangled a number of local authorities countrywide have reached fever-pitch and it is time that the issue is taken up with Swapo Party Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa.
This is according to Urban and Rural Development Minister, Peya Mushelenga, in an interview with Nampa at State House on Wednesday.
He made the remarks in response to questions on how he intends to address matters relating to infightings, particularly at the Okahandja Municipality and Rundu Town Council.
The disagreements emanate from letters allegedly written to the councils by Shaningwa, in which she detailed who is to be elected to top positions.
The two local authorities are currently operating in the absence of substantive elected mayors, deputy mayors and chairperson of the management committee.
Several attempts to elect individuals in these positions fell flat, as the electoral processes were postponed as council members could not reach a consensus or were disrupted by residents.
“As you know, all these standoffs in local authorities came as a result of instructions that came from the party. Perhaps the Secretary General will be the right person (to talk to),” he said.
As a consequence, Mushelenga’s ministry, under which local authorities fall, is now being negatively affected in terms of it achieving its mandate.
“Obviously the ministry…it will be affected because of corporate governance issues. Decisions need to be taken and there is nobody there to take decisions,” Mushelenga explained.
“As the minister, I would be advising the party to fast-track the process of resolving this issue and indicate the impediments that these issues are likely to pose to development if they are not resolved,” he added.
Asked if he had indeed approached the party to that effect, he said he had not been in consultation with the party’s leadership.
Earlier this month, Shaningwa in a letter dated 14 January 2019 and directed to Swapo Regional Coordinator for the Kavango East Region, Ottilia Shinduvi, instructed Rundu councillors to retain the status quo.
In Okahandja, the bone of contention is the extension or termination of the tenure of incumbent Mayor, Johannes Hindjou.
It stems from two letters, one from Shaningwa, and another from Swapo’s district coordinator in Okahandja, Martha Mwandingi-Simeon.
In her letter, Shaningwa said Hindjou must not retain his post and that he be relegated to an ordinary member of the council.
Mwandingi-Simeon’s letter meanwhile, opposed Shaningwa’s directive.