Shaningwa orders swearing-in of Rundu and Okahandja councillors

05 Feb 2019 18:50pm
By Petrus Muronga
RUNDU, 05 FEB (NAMPA) – Swapo Party Secretary General (SG) Sophia Shaningwa has sent out another directive, instructing Rundu and Okahandja councillors to proceed with the swearing-in of their local authority councillors, not later than Thursday.
The directive seen by Nampa was addressed to the party’s Kavango East Regional Coordinator Ottilie Shinduvi and Otjozondjupa Regional Coordinator Susan Hikopua through the Okahandja district coordinator, Martha Mwandingi-Simeon.
The letter sent out on Monday explained that the subject has been discussed by the Political Bureau of the Swapo Party at its ordinary meeting held 30 January 2019, which has reaffirmed the earlier directive of the SG.
It further said the directive serves as final communiqué that the office of the SG is issuing through the regional coordinators to the district executive.
Shinduvi when approached for comment on Tuesday could not confirm nor deny receiving the letter, but referred this agency to the SG as she is the administrative officer of the party.
Approached for comment to validate the letters, Shaningwa stressed: “I do not want to engage you because I did not send any letter to you,” before hanging up the phone.
Mwandingi-Simeon confirmed receiving the letter through the regional coordinator and said they still need to sit with the District Executive Committee (DEC) to make a decision.
“The directive that came from the political bureau is unconstitutional. We are not going to do anything against the law. Everything that we are doing is constitutional and we have the party’s constitution to follow,” she said.
Last year, Shaningwa gave a directive instructing all Swapo Party-dominated local authority management committees to keep the status quo, which was rejected by some councillors.
In Rundu, the swearing-in ceremonies were postponed twice last year due to division among the councillors.
One camp, consisting of Mayor Verna Sinimbo and her deputy Ralf Ihemba, decided not to be part of the swearing-in ceremony, unless the directive is followed.
The other camp members of the management committee wanted change to be effected, especially to the position of mayor.
About Okahandja, Shaningwa in her letter made it clear that incumbent Johannes Hindjou must not retain his post and must be replaced by Sofia Upithe.
She also wanted Gideon Uwu-Khaeb to become deputy mayor of Okahandja and Hileni Iita as chairperson of the management committee.
The DEC, as empowered by the Swapo constitution’s Rule 64, wants Hindjou as mayor to be deputised by Iita while Uwu-Khaeb is their ideal choice for the position of management committee chairperson.