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Opposition councillors come after mayor Fransina Kahungu

Opposition councilors have come after Windhoek Mayor, Fransina Kahungu, accusing her of making “irrational and wasteful decisions for Swapo councillors to save face before the upcoming internal election of SWAPO’s regional candidates scheduled for this coming Sunday”.

The councillors are Brunhilde Cornelius (RDP), Cllr Ignatius Semba (PDM) and Cllr Kahure (Nudo).

“The Council of the City of Windhoek Municipality (the “Council”) convened on 30 September 2020. All Councillors were provided with board packs a week before that meeting, which is substantial notice given the standard shorter notice usually given to councillors.

After dealing with some mundane matters, and before some very controversial agenda items could be discussed, the Mayor of City of Windhoek (“CoW”), who is also the chairperson of the Council, brought the meeting to an abrupt end, on explanation that some councillors did not have enough time to read their board packs.

We were reliably informed that the Mayor caucused with SWAPO Councillors and at this caucus the decision was taken not to allow discussion on some controversial agenda items to continue” the trio said in a statement.

The trio said these prohibited discussions included the CoW Management Committee proposal that the statue of Kurt von Francois be removed.

“The opposition parties intended to oppose this motion for various reasons. No public consultations were held and if opportunistic and ambitious politicians are given the sole discretion to use statues as political bargaining chips, we must except that all current statues will one day be removed by future generations. No statute in our country is completely without controversial history.

The Management Committee received several petitions, before receipt of the petition on the Von Francois statue, from disadvantaged communities who are pleading for increased service delivery, sanitation and land, yet these petitions were not referred to Council, and the petition on the statue of Von Francois was given priority,” they said.

Another proposal was that the contract of the CEO, Robert Kahimise be terminated prematurely.

“This will be unlawful for several reasons, most prominently, according to the law on Local Authorities, the CEO cannot be dismissed without written permission from the Minister. Such permission was not provided. We fear that the true motive for removing the CEO from his office as soon as possible is to pave the way for more corrupt deals, or to obstruct current investigations into high level corruption at CoW,” they said.

The councillors have also poured cold water on the handouts of “Homeowners’ Certificates” saying these are not dealt with in law.
They add that there is no basis in law by which any legal rights can be transferred to any holder of such certificates.

“We fear that this is nothing more than a vote-buying exercise

based solely on a lie. Giving people such false hope in an attempt to stay buy power is deplorable and an utter waste of ratepayers’ funds. After abruptly ending the said Council meeting, the Mayor called a special Council meeting to be held on Friday, 9 October 2020, to discuss the above matters. All Councillors will again be paid sitting fees.

“The only logical explanation we can come up with of for the mayor’s irrational and wasteful decision is that SWAPO Councillors wish to safe face before the upcoming internal election of SWAPO’s regional candidates scheduled for this coming Sunday, 4 October 2020.

We strongly believe this is an abuse of power by the Mayor and SWAPO Councillors, at the expense of rate payers, and we condemn the conduct of the Mayor and SWAPO Councillors for that reason,” they said.

Julia Heita

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