TUJOROMAJO KASUTO

THE Affirmative Repositioning movement has instructed its lawyers to demand clarification from Urban and Rural Development Minister Erastus Uutoni on allegations that he intends dissolving the Windhoek City Council.

This is in reaction to threats by Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga that they will take over the City Council of Windhoek to clear chaos and lawlessness which he blamed on the council.

Popular Democratic Movement yesterday also sent the minster a letter to demanding that he states his stance on Ndeitunga’s threats in the face of land occupations that have escalated over the past few weeks.

The AR, which is in a coalition with three other opposition parties to run the City of Windhoek, accused Ndeitunga of violating the country’s Constitution as well as the Local Authorities Act through his actions and utterances.

Ironically the four opposition parties yesterday signed a coalition agreement, putting aside differences that played out in public among councillors in the past few weeks, where they took turns to lambast the ruling party.

Signing the pact were Independent Patriots for Change leader Panduleni Itula (IPC), McHenry Venaani of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Joseph Kauandenge of National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) and Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda.

The AR has two seats, IPC four seats, PDM and Nudo have one seat each in the 15-member council.

The country’s police chief made the takeover comments when he accompanied members of the Police Special Force on an operation to demolish shacks erected by homeless land grabbers in Babylon, Agstelaan and other informal settlement on Wednesday.

“We are going to run over that council and we will govern that council,” Ndeitunga was heard saying on a video that has since gone viral.

The AR, which is led by Amupanda, wants Uutoni to pronounce himself whether he intends to evoke section 92 of the Local Authorities Act and whether he is aware of the statement attributed to Ndeitunga.

According to the lawyers’ letter to the minister, the AR sees a correlation between Ndeitunga’s statement and the fact that Uutoni summoned members of the city council to his office on 11 August where he allegedly threatened them.

Efforts to get comment from the minister yesterday were fruitless.

The lawyers, Kadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners, added in their letter to the minister dated 11 August, 2021 that their client suspects a political machination by Swapo councillors to frustrate the coalition-led council “so as to develop a ripe environment for your office to evoke the powers captured in section 92 of the Local Authorities Act.”

This section gives the minister the power to remove or suspend members of a local authority council from office if he deems they have failed to exercise or perform their powers, duties and functions.

The lawyers gave Uutoni up to 16 August to respond, failure of which the AR would approach the High Court to compel the minister to respond.

SWAPO spokesperson Hilma Nicanor blamed the chaos on opposition parties saying when the ruling party had a majority in council, there was unity and the council ran smoothly.

“Now there is chaos and no law and order. The unrest is mainly being caused by unrealistic promises made to the people that were never fulfilled,” she said.

Nicanor defended Ndeitunga saying what he said was in the context of ensuring law and order.

PDM Secretary General Manuel Ngaringombe yesterday said the “progressive forces” will not be deterred by SWAPO’s sabotage and obstructionism, despite the unfounded propaganda and narratives being spread by the ruling party including intentions of a “coup d’etat” on the Windhoek City council announced by Ndeitunga.

He said Namibia was not a police state and that the people had voted for opposition parties in last year’s regional and local authority elections because of SWAPO’s maladministration of the local authorities in the country over the past 30 years.

Ngaringombe hit out at Omaheke governor Pio Nganate for allegedly accusing the Gobabis municipality of having failed the people of the town.

“We remind Mr Nganate that the mess left behind by SWAPO at the Gobabis municipality will require more than just eight months in power to rectify. We assure Nganate that we are putting in place the relevant systems and processes in place to solve the mess left by SWAPO at the Gobabis municipality.”

Meanwhile Amupanda has confirmed in a social media post, receiving assassination threats but said he was not afraid of them.

“I can confirm that indeed I have been warned as such by caring people close to the powers that be, and have indeed received direct threats from random calls (private numbers) communicating the same,” he said.

In another matter, Ndeshifela Larandja of the IPC is the new chairperson of the City of Windhoek management committee. She replaces Fillemon Hambuda who resigned from the council recently.