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‘We Are The Ones Smiling Now’ – IPC On “Unlawful” MC Election

By: Justicia Shipena

Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) councillor Jürgen Hecht say not all political parties who opted to take IPC out of the management committee of the City of Windhoek council are in agreement.

This comes after Windhoek mayor Sade Gawanas received legal advice that the City council’s current management committee was unlawfully elected.

The current management committee was elected on 23 August 2022, after a vote of no confidence was moved by Affirmative Reposition (AR) councillor IIse Keister, who also was the first uncontested candidate in the newly formed MC.

The newly formed MC consists of Keister, PDM’s Clemencia Hanses, two Swapo councillors, Sam Nujoma and Austin Kwenani, and LPM’s Ivan, Skrywer.

“They have realised that they have done something wrong; it seems to me not all the political parties who opted to take us out are in agreement because I believe this lawyer is a personal lawyer to LPM. So it remains to be seen,” said Hecht.

Hecht said the writing is on the wall and that how the City elected the new MC was unlawful.

“That is what we have said from the beginning, and again we were laughed at and belittled because we are all just treated as children of Dr Itula, the doctor’s rule of law, and Amupanda thinks it is a big joke. Now it remains to be seen,” he said.

He added that the honours are up to the council to act properly and correct the wrong.

“We are sitting back and waiting, waiting on what will happen. For us, it is a chance, we knew it all along that the way they did it was unprocedural, and now we will see what will happen, so we are the smiling ones,” said Hecht.

Quizzed on how much the back and forth may have cost the City in legal fees, Hecht said the figure could be around N$200,000.

In July, Keister signed and tabled a motion stating that the current management committee has performed poorly and does not inspire confidence in both council and the residents. This led to the council considering the motion and dissolving the previous management committee, which consisted of four IPC councillors, namely Ndeshihafela Larandja, Jürgen Hecht, Bernardus Araeb, and Ottilie Saarty Uukule, with LPM’s Ivan Skrywer.

The IPC quartet have been fighting tooth and nail against the motion and had seen an urgent application in Windhoek High court to which they lost against the City twice with Larandja labelling it as a ‘tribal-ambush’.

In an answering affidavit filed in the Windhoek High Court, Gawanas says, a day after the new MC was elected, she received an urgent call from lawyer Patrick Kauta. He requested an urgent consultation at his office because he was concerned with the legality of the special council meetings of 22 and 23 August, adding that she was flabbergasted and inquired why the election of the management committee piqued Kauta.

“At this consultation, he alerted me to paragraph 81 of Mr Hekandjo’s answering affidavit in case no. I was stunned at these revelations and turn of events,” she said.

She said it transpired that the election of the management committee came up in prior unrelated consultation with the corporate legal advisor of the acting chief executive officer of the City, O’Brien Hekandjo.

“Mr Kauta advised us that Mr Hekandjo’s undertaking may very well have had a bearing in the mind of the Honourable Court rejecting interdictory relief in the case because it removed any irreparable harm to the applicants in that case and tilted the balance of convenience in favour of the first respondent,” said Gawanas in her affidavit.

Furthermore, Gawanas reveals that the lawyer advised that the resolutions of the special council meetings of 22 August 2022 and the elections of the management committee on 23 August 2022 was unlawful and inconsistent with the rule of law.

“He advised that I urgently remedy the illegality by convening an urgent special council meeting to agree to launch urgent self-review proceedings,” she recalls.

“On the same day, fortunately, there was a Councillor’s Forum that afternoon. After that meeting adjourned, I briefed all Management Committee members (including Councilor Ilse Keister-Elago) elected on 23 August 2022 about the illegality of their election on 23 August 2022.”

Gawanas, at the same time, said on 2 September 2022, a meeting was arranged for a consultation with Kauta and the MC.

At this meeting, Kauta informed them that they were unlawfully elected and, therefore, could not take any lawful binding decisions.

Last Friday, Judge Boas Usiku struck the four IPC city councillors’ application from the court roll to which he ruled that it did not meet the requirements to be heard as an urgent matter.

Larandja, who was the chairperson of the MC, stated in an affidavit that the vote of no confidence, which Keister proposed, took place despite a lawyer representing the council.

Speaking to The Villager, urban and rural development minister Natalia /Goagoses said the ministry at the moment cannot interfere with the affairs of the City council.

“We cannot interfere because they are legal persons and have their laws. The minister can only come in when necessary. We don’t want to go there; that is why the minister says, my honourable, solve the problems and forget the politics.”

She expressed her disappointment in the developments at the City council.

“What I am seeing nowadays in the City of Windhoek and most of the local authorities is something that no one can be happy with,” she said.

/Goagoses said the back and forth of the courts is affecting the delivery negatively.

“The year is about to end. What have we done as the leadership of the City of Windhoek? Administrators are equally confused, in my view, because they don’t have a head of administration,” she said.

She added that taxpayers’ money is paying for the legal cost of the council being friends of the courts.

“You taxpayers who are paying for rates and taxes. It is you, the public. These things are not covered from their personal pockets. It’s the institution.”

Meanwhile, former City of Windhoek councillor Ignatius Semba said any decision taken unlawfully in the absence of a lawful one could see the old management committee come back to their duties as usual.

“In the meantime, a meeting needs to be reconvened in order for somebody else to hold that position. So normally, what will happen is that these people will be acting in their old capacities as members of the management committee. Then another meeting will be called to elect the one that is supposed to be lawful if the other one was not.”

 

 

 

 

Justicia Shipena

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