Lack of management committee cripples City operations

Opposition rejects Swapo majority
Some members of the opposition party say they want to start the process from scratch.
Augetto Graig
The Windhoek city council's decision-making ability and activities have become severely constrained after a second attempt to assemble the important management committee (MC) failed again last week.
According to the City’s legal representative, Ngatatue Kandovazu, the fact that only three councillors were elected to the committee means that it is not sufficiently constituted and therefore will not be able to make valid decisions.
He explained that the majority of issues on which the city council must deliberate are first referred to them by the MC.
"Agenda items cannot be considered, and all the items that the council sends back to the committee also stand still. Ordinary items must go through the committee, although some items can be brought directly (from the municipal management) to the council's attention. It is essential that the committee be fully formed as soon as possible," he said.
At last week's special meeting to fill the two outstanding seats, opposition politicians again rejected all nominations for those who could serve on the MC.
At the previous meeting, the National Unity Democratic Organisation's (Nudo's) Joseph Uapingene was elected as mayor.
Despite nominations, none of the opposition members took the opportunity to join the MC. Only Sam Nujoma, Queen Kamati and Austin Kwenani – all Swapo members – have been elected as committee members so far. Swapo's Magalena Pienaar-Lombardt is the capital's deputy mayor.
According to Uapingene, the atmosphere within the city council is tense at the moment. "We still need to calm down. It's still up and down. We need to normalise the council," he said.
However, Uapingene could not shed much light on the reasons behind the obstacle to the city council's activities.
"Although I am also an opposition party member, I do not know exactly what the problem is. Before the election, the opposition got together and decided to take over the management committee – after the meeting in December when the ruling party and the IPC walked out," he said.
"As Nudo, we have decided to work with anyone who will work with us for the best interests of the residents. That's what we did," he said.
Opposition refusal
Over the weekend, Windhoek's former mayor, LPM's Sade Gawanas, said the main reason behind opposition politicians' refusal to join the new MC is the rejection of Swapo's majority in decision-making within the city council.
"A party that has the majority in the MC equals absolute power," she said.
According to her, during their previous meeting with city councillors from opposition parties, Swapo members said they were looking for a Nudo chairman (mayor) and three MC members. According to her, the opposition had made other proposals, but Swapo insisted that they would proceed regardless.
"We can never again give Swapo the majority in the management committee," she concluded.
On the contrary, opposition parties seek joint responsibility, joint decision-making, and a joint MC.
"The Swapo committee members must resign so that we can nominate members for the MC. Some say we have to start the whole process from scratch. They are also not happy with the mayor and his deputy," she claimed.
The urban and rural development minister, Erastus Uutoni, on Friday invited all city council members to an urgent meeting on the state of leadership within the Windhoek municipal management. This meeting was expected to take place on Monday morning. The next attempt to elect a full management committee has been postponed until 9 February.