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Double trouble for embattled Swapo Helao Nafidi councilor

By: Kelvin Chiringa

Ester Nghidimbwa’s urgent court application against a Swapo decision to withdraw her from the Helao Nafidi town council as councilor in place for another party member has hit a brick wall in the Windhoek High Court.

Nghidimbwa was recalled from office early this year despite the fact that the court had made a ruling in her favour to remain as councilor about two years ago.

The Swapo Party secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa gave a directive on the 8th of February 2019 to the party’s Ohangwena regional coordinator, Hafeni Hatutale, in which she informed him about the politburo’s decision to withdraw Nghidimbwa with immediate effect.

She was to be consequently substituted by Lusia Nghililewanga.

Nghidimbwa reacted to this latest development with an urgent court application which was put before a high court judge only to be struck off the roll on a technical point, with the matter declared as finalised.

Nevertheless, it seems Nghidimbwa is not done yet and this week, her lawyer Henry Shimutwikeni of Henry Shimutwikeni & Co Inc told this publication that they will issue another court challenge as soon as possible.

She is challenging the Swapo party, its secretary general, the Electoral Commission of Namibia, the politburo and its chairperson, as well as Nghililewanga.

Nghidimbwa’s case is that she was sworn in as councillor at Helao Nafidi on the 4th of December 2015 only to be recalled much to her grievance which led her knocking on the doors of the court.

Her replacement, Nghililewanga had complained to the Swapo Party that Nghidimbwa, who did not feature on the party’s candidate list, was sworn in instead of her.

Then party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba (now vice-President) sought to put the matter to rest by stating that they had made a mistake to swear in Nghidimbwa after the 2015 local authority elections.

Initial attempts to fix the debacle at the party Head Quarters also hit a brick wall as Nghidimbwa flatly refused to go, leading the entire matter into a court battle.

The decision to recall Nghidimbwa from office was set aside in a ruling by High Court Judge Hosea Angula.

As far as she is concerned, she was properly elected to office.

“The (8th February) letter does not indicate what possible wrong doing or misconduct I may have committed,” she has said.

The decision to withdraw her, she alleges, is a violation of the party’s code of conduct and disciplinary procedures and the rules and procedures for election of party office bearers and representatives at legislative and government levels.






Kelvin Chiringa

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