By: Andrew Kathindi
Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernardus Swartbooi has confirmed that negotiations with Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) for a coalition in the City of Windhoek council have nearly been finalised.
The move could spell the final nail in the coffin of mayor Job Amupanda’s role as mayor and leader of the council.
LPM in December last year missed out on the coalition, which eventually saw Amupanda chosen and second as mayor while IPC scooped up a number of management committee positions, including chairperson of the management committee.
“I can confirm that we have been in talks with IPC for the coalition. We have had many meetings. The deputy leader (Seibeb) also was involved in several meetings. We drafted a framework around which we hope we’ll work. We know that at least one coalition partner is pleased. They approached us to join the coalition,” Swartbooi said.
The current coalition anointed the progressive forces comprises the Affirmative Repositioning movement, IPC, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) and National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO).
Swartbooi said talks appear to be approaching a finality, and offers for positions have been made to LPM.
“There are suggestions we made to IPC of how we think we could do this. There is good progress made. We will see when it is finalised what it entails.”
“We know that some that may not make it as mayor are also not going to abandon the agreements they had. We do not anticipate that one of the movements will say, ‘I am out of this. We also don’t want that. We want everyone to be together.”
However, the LPM leader said that should progress be made to get in bed with IPC, he would not like to see councillors being constantly restrained.
“One thing we would not want to see any coalition partner to do is to constantly restrain people when decisions of serious nature have to be taken. If you have to decide because something is happening and you don’t like, don’t stand down, approach the issue and confront it.”
IPC has shown a pattern of restraining its councillors both in Windhoek and Swakopmund when internal matters arise.
“We don’t like being in a coalition, with one party deciding everything. We have to sit and talk about issues,” said Swartbooi.
The cosy relationship between the progressive forces coalition, which was formed last year, has seen cracks in recent months, particularly over the issue of the CEO position. Windhoek has not had a substantive CEO since Robert Kahimise left for CENORED.
Swartbooi said his party would oppose any recommendation for Roads Authority CEO Conrad Lutombi as Windhoek CEO.
“What we are sure about is that we would not want Mr Lutombi to be the CEO. That we are sure about. There is no way that we will, on some good interview, close our eyes to the unpatriotic work of Lutombi. As we talk, an alleged one billion dollar grant amount of work is given to the Chinese. And Calle Schlettwein tried to defend it, and sugar coat it. Lutombi has been one of the most unpatriotic Namibians you can find.”
According to City internal documents, Lutombi was recommended following the public interviews held last month. However, the decision has not gone over well with councillors, with some alleging favouritism.
“Government complains about liquidity, but you have been exporting billions to China, cash. The same Lutombi must now, based on a good interview, become the best person. We don’t want Lutombi. Any decision around Lutombi, we will oppose it.”