Windhoek Mayor Sade Gawanas was adamant that the City’s coalition council has not failed but chose to lay the blame at the feet of certain individuals she would not name.
Gawanas said this in a press conference on Tuesday; a follow-up to Monday’s press conference that was chaired by the management committee chairperson Ndeshihafela Larandja. The latter, Gawanas labelled as being done to score political points and agendas.
Her comments appear to betray the cracks in an LPM marriage with the IPC that began less than a mere eight months ago after the IPC fell out of favour with AR in ruling the City.
“The City of Windhoek may look good from the outside, but it has been rotting, decaying slowly but surely. Yes, the truth hurts, but we are here now! And the question needs to be answered: what are we going to do about it? Council has not failed – some individuals have failed us. Our assignment is very clear: go out there and affect change so that the most vulnerable in society can benefit and restore their dignity,” said Gawanas.
Much like the IPC-led press conference on Monday, a number of councillors were noticeably absent from the Mayor’s presser, bar her LPM and MC member Ivan Skrywer and councillor Jürgen Hecht.
Gawanas acknowledged this, stating that she has always supported her predecessor, Job Amupanda.
“Whenever there was an event that he (Amupanda) had spearheaded, I myself, Sade Gawanas, had always committed to support. I have always been there, I have always supported, and I think that would also show the commitment from certain councillors.
She further said she only became Mayor because AR, PDM and Swapo opted not to nominate a second candidate, which made her understand the “challenges” ahead of her.
“If any councillor feels they do not want to support any initiative of myself or council at this stage, I cannot force them to do so.
I cannot force them to come to a meeting that the chairperson of council is hosting. I cannot force them to contribute in meetings.”
Amupanda, on his part, said he was swamped with work at the Unam, where he is a lecturer. “Classes have started at the University yesterday!”
This comes on the heels of Nudo secretary general and former City of Windhoek Coalition Caucus Chairperson Josef Kauandenge admitting that the opposition has failed to tame the City.
“We have, as a collective, failed miserably to govern a City like Windhoek. Our own self-inflected egos, our selfishness and self-righteous attitudes have cost us an opportunity to lead and to lead with wisdom and empathy for our people.
Sadly my words have come to manifest themselves in the theatrics playing their ugly face at the City of Windhoek currently, where although Nudo has a Deputy Mayor position there, we have tried to intervene behind the scenes and to call our fellow councillors in the coalition to reason and have clarity of purpose of why we are in this coalition,” he said.
According to the politician, personal ambitions, lack of leadership skills, and over-exaggerated egos have taken over.
“Our poor Windhoek residents are suffering while we continue to try and outsmart one another, sad very sad indeed.
We collectively, as opposition parties, have failed our City, and we should be ashamed!
CEO FIGHT CONTINUES
Meanwhile, Gawanas was also of the view that the management committee does not have the power to restart the process of appointing a substantive CEO for the City.
On Monday, Larandja stated that the the process of appointing the CEO, which saw Roads Authority boss Conrad Lutombi recommended for the position, was tempered with and cannot achieve an outcome that is beyond reproach.
However, Gawanas argued that as the matter stands currently stands, the management committee is allegedly usurping powers which, as a sub-committee, it does not have in law. “Therefore, it could be overstepping its powers. Considering how far the recruitment process went, Management Committee cannot terminate the process without the approval of council and cannot and will not enforce and bully council. The matter is before council, and until such time that council pronounces itself, the Management Committee will not force the process to restart, and council will ensure due diligence. All matters in front of council will be dealt with in terms of principles of legality, rationality, reasonableness, and justifiability,” she said.