Okahandja Deputy Mayor smacks councillor

19 October 2018 Author   Kaula Nhongo

Chaos erupted at the Okahandja Municipality on Tuesday when the Deputy Mayor, Sofia Upithe, physically assaulted UDF councillor, Fredrick Shimanda during a meeting. Chaos erupted at the Okahandja Municipality on Tuesday when the Deputy Mayor, Sofia Upithe, physically assaulted UDF councillor, Fredrick Shimanda during a meeting. 

In an interview with the Windhoek Observer, Shimanda alleged that he was physically attacked with a 500ml water bottle after he objected to the deputy mayor’s penchant for travelling on council business.
According to the councillor, Upithe does not attend council meetings yet she always wants to be included when council members are travelling outside the town.  He claimed that she does this in order to benefit from S&T allowances.
Shimanda also objected to the frequent travels of the municipality’s Chief Executive Officer, Martha Mutilifa.
“She (Upithe) hit me twice on the left cheek and twice on the right cheek. She is not attending council meetings yet she always wants to travel. 
“As for Mutilifa, last week she went to the land conference, this week she is going to Walvis Bay and next week she is going to Oshakati. I merely suggested that she travels when it is really necessary,” Shimanda said.
In addition to physically hitting Shimanda, the deputy mayor is also alleged to have insulted the councilor’s ex-wife and his late mother.
“She said my mother died before teaching me some manners,” Shimanda claimed.
At some point during the heated debate, Mutilifa is said to have walked out of the meeting to go to her office with Shimanda in tow. 
“Upithe followed us to the office and this time around she brought her husband. I was standing with two other councillors when she came and hit me with the water bottle. Security officers tried to apprehend her, but she jumped over them and hit me again,” Shimanda said.

Upithe is said to have gone to the police to report the matter even though she is alleged to have hit Shimanda.
“I was surprised when I was approached by the police after she laid a charge of assault against me. After witnesses were questioned and it came out that she was in the wrong, I was advised to open a case against her,” said Shimanda who has since opened a case against Upithe.
When contacted for comment, Upithe claimed ignorance of the alleged physical confrontation before putting her phone down.
Mutilifa could neither confirm nor deny the fight, saying she did not see everything.
“They were speaking in a language I could not understand, I left them arguing, it could be that he was hit, but I do not know,” she said.
According to sources who spoke to the Windhoek Observer on condition of anonymity, the governance situation at the council is deteriorating by the day.
The Okahandja Municipality has in recent years been hit by allegations of financial mismanagement, corruption as well as poor service delivery.
Earlier this year, residents of the town handed a petition to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development pleading for the minister to intervene.
To date, no action has been taken by the relevant authorities.
In July, this newspaper reported that the municipality had ignored a moratorium on land sales and leases after it allegedly agreed to lease property to a Malaysian company that wants to establish a private university.
It was alleged that the Okahandja Municipality had agreed to lease a 13,000 square meter property to Limkokwing University without following the right procedures.
Council was alleged to have approved the lease without consulting Urban and Rural Development Minister, Peya Mushelenga, who is said to have directed it to follow procedures after he got wind of the deal.
The current political leadership of the town also faces allegations of corruption, and taking bribes from business people to push deals in their favour.

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