City of Windhoek Council faces vote of no confidence …as the Kahimise saga opens in 2019
The dust around the disputed suspension of the City of Windhoek chief executive officer has refused to settle as three opposition party councilors gun for a vote of no confidence in the council.
Robert Kahimise was suspended in October last year for alleged irregularities including awarding himself a study bursary.
But this week, councilors: Josef Kauandenge (NUDO), Ignatius Semba (PDM) and Brunhilde Cornelius (RDP) called for President Hage Geingob to come to the rescue.
The three, however, do not have a majority in a council of 15, where 12 are Swapo, yet they are adamant that the vote will lead into a debate that will bring to the public the motives behind Kahimise’s suspension.
The trio has described the wrangles at the municipality as an unfolding “theatric show” while the situation in the city chambers had become deplorable.
It also bashed the city management committee for abusing its powers by suspending the CEO along tribal lines driven by an agenda to entirely get rid of him.
The line minister, Peya Mushelenga has also been accused of sabotaging the municipality by failing to save the CEO from the ongoing onslaught that has spilled into the courts.
The opposition councilors also told journalists this week that some officials wanted Kahimise’s head in order to put in place “someone else who will become their darling to do whatever they want him to do”.
The whole deal is to have such a CEO throw tenders their way, the trio alleged and added that Kahimise had sought to stop this corruption and make sure that others too benefitted from the city through transparent tender processes.
They maintain that Kahimise has been made a scapegoat and was being punished for the suspension of the city police boss Abraham Kanime.
Kanime is said to be a darling to many of these officials.
The councilors also claimed that Kanime had employed many city officials’ relatives within the city police and they furnished a list of such alleged beneficiaries to the media.
These have been claimed to be Simon Mathews, Kashinghola Hafeni, Amadhila Taimi, Uushona-Kanime, Amkhali Maria, Iijambo Eliaser, Kapatenwa Gideon, Othilelie Shilengula, Absalom Kahungu, Kashina Werner and Silvia Shikongo.
They, however, could not immediately provide proof that the above were corruptly employed via connections to Kanime saying this would be made public at a later period.
The suspension of Kanime was carried out by the management committee which later made a U-turn to bring him back and made it look like it was a Kahimise decision, they claimed.
“If both the MC and Council did not approve the suspension of the CEO, there was no way that the CEO alone without their backing could have succeeded in suspending Chief Kanime,” they said.
The trio provided photocopied documents which showed that a nearly N$150 000 private study interest-free loan to be paid for a period of 36 months for Kahimise had been signed by the mayor, management committee chairperson and HR officer at the municipality.
“After the oversight was detected that in fact, it should have been the MC that should have approved that, the former chairman of the MC tried to explain in a letter why there was an oversight and he pleaded with his fellow MC members to condone it.”
“However, because the knives were out for the CEO’s head, this issue was blown out of proportion and the pleas of the chairman were rejected forthwith,” said the opposition councilors.
It has also come out that two strategic executives, identified only as Narib and Mayubelo refused to sign their new employment contracts after they got reshuffled by Kahimise to other positions.
The trio also claims that both the current strategic executive for Human Resources and the acting CEO had gunned for the office of the CEO when it was vacant but came nowhere close to being shortlisted as they did not meet the criteria.
The two executives are said to be the ones fighting tooth and nail to have Kahimise ousted.
“Regrettably, some of our councilors are being used as pawns by these officials who are hell-bent on advancing their agendas at the expense of council and the city residents,” said the trio.
The trio also claimed that some management committee members were not happy with the new procurement Act which took many of their functions away into the CEO’s hands.
“The CEO was adamant that the provisions of this Act must be adhered to,” said the trio adding, “It is clear as daylight therefore that the real reasons for the suspension of the CEO is much deeper than meets the eye, and these flimsy excuses of trumped so-called charges is just a way to deflect from the real reasons.”
The trio has continuously described the under-fire CEO as “the best man for the job, who has in a year’s time tried to turn around the fortunes of the city”.
They want the motion of no confidence to be instituted as soon as council resumes.
During this vote, the trio said it wants to address issues to do with the wastage of council money in “endless meaningless MC meetings that are called on a whim”.
“Like for the month of October and November, MC members received hefty amounts of money in sitting allowances amounting to N$100 000. This was due to unscheduled MC meetings called on an hour’s notice, and the introduction of the so-called caucus meetings,” the trio also disclosed.
They said the city is in a mess and that staff morale was at its lowest ebb.
“We, therefore, call upon the head of state, President Hage Geingob to intervene as a matter of urgency in the City of Windhoek’s internal squabbles, as this has the potential to derail progress made so far towards the provision of basic services,” they said.