Thursday, February 21, 2019

'SWAPO Leadership Misled by Report'
News | 2019-02-20Page no: 1
by Sakeus Iikela
The Namibian
Photo: Peya Mushelenga

A REPORT presented to Swapo by urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga on the Okahandja Town Council is at the heart of the disputes between councillors and the party leadership.

Swapo's Otjozondjupa regional coordinator, Susan Hikopua, claimed yesterday that Mushelenga's report to secretary general Sophia Shaningwa misled her to reshuffle the Okahandja municipality's leadership.

Hikopua said this in an interview with The Namibian, following Monday's meeting which discussed the defiance of Rundu and Okahandja councillors.

She said Mushelenga's report was also discussed at a meeting chaired by president Hage Geingob.

Monday's meeting was called after Rundu councillors who were removed by Shaningwa last week threatened to take the party to court to challenge the recall.

Hikopua confirmed that the politburo will decide the fate of the councillors from the two towns.

She said Mushelenga's report contained “wrong information, which caused the feeling that it was better for us to now rotate the councillors, but that was rectified last night”.

However, Mushelenga denied this, saying the report had concrete information, and that the same information presented to Shaningwa was also submitted to his office by the Okahandja town management.

“The information I presented is the information I have in black and white that was also presented to my office,” he added.

The controversy about the report comes at a time when several senior party leaders are questioning Shaningwa's decisions which are backfiring on her.

The Namibian understands that Swapo's politburo met yesterday to discuss Shaningwa's decision to remove Rundu councillors.

The meeting also discussed the defiance by Okahandja councillors when they retained Johannes 'Congo' Hindjou as mayor, despite Shaningwa's orders to demote him.

It was unclear by last night whether the politburo would reverse Shaningwa's recent decisions, including the removal of Rundu councillors.

However, the online local newspaper, Namibia Daily News, reported yesterday that Geingob had revoked Shaningwa's decision to recall Rundu councillors.

The Namibian could not confirm this. The online media house also reported that: “Geingob was adamant that proper pronunciation on the matter will be revealed when the Swapo politburo meets next week”.

Shaningwa has been accused of not consulting grassroots' leaders on changes at town councils.

Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah agreed with these concerns, and said that the number of controversies in the ruling party could “easily be linked to Shaningwa's leadership style”.

He said: “I think it is time for her [Shaningwa] to reflect and ask herself tough questions”.

“Why are these things happening? Is it because of her approach? Or is it something beyond her control and the leadership of the party? That is what leaders do. Yes, there is a conflict, but it is also an opportunity for the leadership to reflect, and maybe change the approach on how they address some of these things,” he stated.

Kamwanyah added that the ruling party's top-down approach of imposing decisions on the people was not favourable.

“The reason for having structures in the party, for example districts and branches, is to enhance the voices of the people to participate in the democratic process.

“But when things are done through instructions from the top, there is a problem in terms of the democratic process within the party because it seems to me that it is a top-down approach. That approach to me does not work because people are going to revolt at one point, and that is what you are seeing with the councillors defying party orders,” he said.

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