It has emerged that opposition parties agreed to revolve the leadership roles at the City of Windhoek Council for the next five years as part of a coalition agreement deal reached Tuesday night to break an impasse over positions.
As part of the agreement reached, Affirmative Repositioning leader, Job Amupanda will have the first go at the Mayor role, a development that saw him standing unopposed for the position on Wednesday.
Amupanda was nominated by Independent Patriots for Change’s (IPC) Fillemon Hambuda and seconded by PDM’s Clemecia Hanases.
He replaces outgoing mayor and Councilor Fransina Kahungu.
Clemenncia Hanases of PDM is Deputy Mayor of Windhoek.
“One of the things that we’ve decided is that this is going to be really a collective leadership, some of you were praying that we are unable to produce a leadership. Some of you are hoping this formation will not be able to work together. But we managed to prove them wrong. We managed to prove that we can work together,” Amupanda said in his inaugural speech.
“So, there’s going to be a variety of leadership. We’re are going to find a working formula. Don’t get used to Job as Mayor. Tomorrow, you’re going to have a mayor from IPC, tomorrow you’re going to have a mayor from LPM, a Mayor PDM and from Nudo.”
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) MP, Nico Smit told Windhoek Observer that this was done in order for everyone in the coalition to have a fair chance to be the leader of the group.
“It’s just about service delivery. We ourselves must not be more important than the people that we are representing, we must not be here for positions. That’s why we have taken a decision that all positions will rotate yearly. So, each and everyone in the Council on the collision side will have opportunity to be a mayor, and to be a deputy mayor, and to be the chairperson of the Council of the management committee. Everyone will get the opportunity, it’s not about positions.”
According to the Local Authorities Act of 1992 “the mayor and deputy mayor and the chairperson and vice-chairperson of a local authority council shall hold office for a period of one year”
Party leader McHenry Venaani supported Smit’s sentiments stating, “What we want is to solve the problems. And if the best person to solve the problem is IPC, we don’t have a problem in PDM. Rotation to us is just a mechanism to build confidence, the job on the deck is to give service to our people and that we’re going to do.”
IPC leader Dr Panduleni Itula said that the new political landscape has brought about an end to “political segregation”.
He however said that leaders on the council will serve based on merit and there may not always be a need to rotate.
“The term of office in terms of law is one year, but it doesn’t mean that there’s a need for alteration.”
“Whether the mayor has served well in whether the mayor has to be rotated. That is going to be on merit, not because we want different colours,” Itula told Windhoek Observer.
IPC currently holds three seats on the management committee, with Fillemon Hambuda, Ndeshihafela Laranja, Desiree Davids while the other two positions on the powerful body are occupied by Elsie Keister (AR) and Joseph Uapingene (NUDO).
Noticeably absent from participation were LPM and Swapo members who will serve as ordinary members of council.
Interestingly, NUDO has opted for a coalition with AR, PDM and IPC, days after Swapo Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa sent directives to the regional Swapo leadership to form coalitions with NUDO and United Democratic Front (UDF) of Namibia.
It has further emerged that the LPM walked out of coalition talks that ran into the night on the eve of the swearing in of Councilors.
“I must say it was a little bit of a letdown that LPM withdrew at the last minute. It was a shock. We tried our level best to keep them there. I call on them to rise to the moment,” Smit said.
Smit opted not to reveal what LPM’s reservations were, stating that “It was a little bit difficult to get it out of them. But I hope they might still be opportunity to talk to them and to get them into the fold, because we need each and everybody.”
Attempts to reach LPM for comment proved fruitless before publishing.