Status quo stands at Okahandja while matter referred to politburo for scrutiny

19 Feb 2019 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 19 FEB (NAMPA) – An urgent meeting on Monday by those in Swapo’s top echelons resolved to retain the status quo of its recently-installed office bearers at the Okahandja Municipality, referring to issues pertaining to their election to the politburo.
The politburo is responsible for policy formulation in the period between central committee meetings.
This means that Mayor Johannes ‘Congo’ Hindjou retains his position and is deputised by Hileni Iita, while Gideon Uwu-Khaeb is the chairperson of the management committee (MC).
Helmi Maruru is the MC’s additional member while one position remains unoccupied after Sophia Upithe refused to take it, amid claims that a Swapo directive to elect her as mayor was ignored.
This follows back-and-forth directives from Swapo Secretary General (SG) Sophia Shaningwa to Okahandja Swapo district coordinator, Martha Mwandingi-Simeon through Otjozondjupa party coordinator Susan Hikopua.
The meeting was chaired by President Hage Geingob and was attended by Swapo vice president and International Relations Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, as well as politburo members - Vice President Nangolo Mbumba and Premier Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.
After the meeting, the councillors were reluctant to engage the media, reportedly on instruction of their superiors.
However, they confirmed that the status quo remains intact.
“The matter will be tabled at the politburo,” Mwandingi-Simeon told Nampa.
Hindjou when approached said: “Nothing has changed pending the politburo outcome.”
A date for the politburo meeting is yet to be announced.
Last year, Shaningwa wrote to Hikopua, informing her of the changes that were to be effected regarding the party’s office bearers at the Okahandja Municipality.
Shaningwa said Hindjou must be demoted to an ordinary member of the council and instead, she wanted Upithe as the town’s mayor.
Upithe, according to the SG, was to be deputised by Uwu-Khaeb and Iita was to be MC chairperson.
In its opposing directive, the Okahandja District Executive Committee stood by Hindjou as their ideal candidate for the mayoral post.
Shaningwa’s directives, according to councillors privy to the meeting, was never sanctioned by any decision-making organ in Swapo.
Efforts to get confirmation to this effect proved futile as Shaningwa’s phone went unanswered on Tuesday.
On Monday, Shaningwa walked away when this agency sought her audience on the outcome of the meeting.
The directives were followed by two failed attempts to hold a successful electoral process of municipal office bearers.
However, last week, a successful election was held, electing Hindjou as the mayor.