11 October 2018

Namibia: Swapo Councillors Want Windhoek CEO Suspended

A CLIQUE of Swapo councillors have recommended the suspension of the City of Windhoek's chief executive Robert Kahimise, barely over a year after he took the job.

Documents show that councillors want to suspend Kahimise, who has been the city's chief executive since 2017, because of an interest-free loan that he was set to receive from the municipality to study for a doctorate at a university.

The proposed suspension is contained in a letter written by three opposition party councillors to urban and rural development minister Peya Mushelenga yesterday.

The three opposed the suspension of Kahimise.

The letter was signed by Nudo city councillor Joseph Kauandenge, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) councillor Brumelda Cornelius and Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) councillor Ignatius Semba.

The recommendation to suspend Kahimise was made on Tuesday by the city's management committee - a powerful body of council, which consists of Swapo councillors.

Kauandenge confirmed the letter yesterday, and said the recommendation was made on Tuesday. The three councillors said they believe there is a plan to suspend Kahimise for three months.

"Three months will become a year while the comrades make sure that their tenders and land deals or whatever they need to push is clandestinely squeezed through as quickly as possible," the letter stated.

Swapo councillors have over the past years earned a reputation of dishing out plots and tenders to family members and cronies.

The letter sent to the minister said the chief executive is being suspended because his study loan was erroneously approved by City of Windhoek mayor Muesee Kazapua, and the chairperson of the management committee.

The opposition councillors said the Swapo councillors are using this error to get at Kahimise, instead of rectifying it.

"We, therefore, call upon you honourable minister to call members of the [city's] management committee to order," the councillors said.

The municipality's management committee consists of Matheus Amadhila (chairperson), Loide Kaiyamo, Agatha Iiyambo, Matilde Ukeva and Moses Shiikwa.

The Namibian understands that Amadhila did not attend the meeting which recommended the suspension of Kahimise.

Shiikwa told The Namibian yesterday that he cannot comment on the matter.

"Don't put the cart before the horse. I cannot confirm or deny," he said.

Shiikwa said management committee decisions are mere recommendations, and will need the approval of council for a final decision.

Kahimise said he is not aware of a decision to suspend him since he asked someone to attend the meeting on his behalf. He referred further questions to the councillors.

Mushelenga yesterday confirmed receiving the letter, but said he needs to hear from both parties first before deciding on the way forward. The aggrieved councillors threatened to introduce a vote of no confidence in the management committee, which will involve voting secretly.

The three opposition councillors believe that Swapo councillors come up with additional gatherings known as Swapo management committee caucus meetings that are paid for by ratepayers.

"Management committee members are paid sitting fees as well for these caucus meetings. Council spends extra thousands of dollars on management committee members," the opposition councillors said, adding that this is on top of other council allowances.

"They should lead by example by cutting their own sitting allowances," the opposition councillors stated.

According to the letter, the Swapo councillors want to suspend Kahimise because he pushed for the suspension of City Police chief Abraham Kanime. The letter said the fight among officials at the organisation have tribal undertones between the Aawambo and Ovaherero people.

The Namibian has reported this year how Kanime's supporters claimed that Kahimise was out to get rid of him.

The letter also claimed that there is a plan to get at the City of Windhoek's legal adviser, Benedictus Ngairorue, a close Kahimise ally.

Ngairorue is facing a corruption charge in court. He was in the news earlier this year when it emerged that the City of Windhoek paid close to N$1 million towards his legal fees in a corruption case he is facing.

Ngairorue denied any wrongdoing at the time, but Kanime's supporters pointed at that payment as proof that Kahimse was protecting an official who is accused of corruption.

shinovene@namibian.com.na

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