Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) Secretary General, Manuel Ngaringombe, has come out guns blazing, accusing the ruling SWAPO Party and its councilors in Okahandja and Rundu of hampering the delivery of quality services to rate payers because of their internal squabbles.
The two town councils have not been functioning properly since November last year after the SWAPO Party Secretary General, Sophia Shaningwa, tried to impose leaders.
A swearing-in ceremony of councillors at the Okahandja Municipality was called off after residents and SWAPO factions at the town clashed over who should become mayor.
Last month, the Windhoek Observer reported that the SWAPO Okahandja District Executive Committee had disregarded a directive by Shaningwa to elevate Deputy Mayor, Sophia Uupitha, to the position of mayor.
SWAPO district leaders in the town argued that Shaningwa went against the rules and procedures pertaining to the election of party office bearers which states that candidates for mayoral and deputy mayoral positions in terms of the Local Authorities Act 1992 shall be identified by the District Executive Committee.
“This person does not know how to work well with people. She fights with everyone and sometimes even resorts to physical fights. How is it possible that the SG is giving this person this position?
“When we invite her to meetings she does not show up and this same person should now become a leader,” SWAPO District Executive Coordinator, Martha Mwandiki, complained.
Shaningwa also directed that current Mayor, Johannes ‘Congo’ Hindjou, be demoted to the position of a mere councillor, a decision which did not sit well with other council members and the SWAPO Party Regional District Executive Committee.
At Rundu, Shaningwa reportedly instructed the town council to retain its leadership, which includes Mayor Verna Sinimbo, but three of the five ruling party councillors are refusing to implement the directive as it will result in Sinimbo being re-elected as mayor for the fourth consecutive time.
Sinimbo is also accused of not being a good leader. Her detractors say the filthiness of the town shows the lack of her leadership qualities.
Ngaringombe called on Shaningwa and Rural and Urban Development Minister, Peya Mushelenga, to urgently intervene and bring back sanity to the two towns.
He also pleaded with the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate allegations of financial mismanagement and corruption at the two councils and bring the culprits to book.
“It is a requirement by the Local Authorities Act that councillors are supposed to take decisions in council meetings for the appropriate management of the towns’ affairs.
“However, for almost two months since November 2018, the Okahandja and Rundu councillors are not fulfilling their mandate due internal squabbles by the SWAPO councilors,” Ngaringombe said.
He added that it is very disturbing that the ruling party cannot resolve its internal grievances to pave the way for the smooth running of affairs at the two local authorities.
Ngaringombe took a swipe at President Hage Geingob, for paying lip service to accountability despite his New Year’s message that this year would the year of accountability
“The head of state in his New Year’s message declared 2019 as the year of accountability, however, this declaration seems to be a mere lip service as the events unfolding at Okahandja and Rundu town councils are a clear indication of an ongoing lackluster management of government affairs,” Ngaringombe said.
“These irresponsible conducts by the SWAPO Party and its councilors is becoming a bad habit in local authorities’ management and is hampering the infrastructural, economic and human development in local authorities. Something needs to be done to change this harmful behaviour.”