Namibia: LPM to Challenge National Council Removal

The //Kharas branch of the Landless People's Movement (LPM) is in the process of getting the National Council (NC) chairperson's decision barring their two regional councillors from attending sessions in the upper house of parliament retracted.

The two LPM councillors, who were elected as members of the //Kharas Regional Council's management committee on 9 April 2021, lost their eligibility to be elected and serve as members of the National Council on the said date in terms of section 18(4) of the Regional Councils Act. The councillors were elected to serve on the management committee after Swapo councillors snubbed the meeting held at Keetmanshoop last month.

Gerrit Witbooi, one of the aggrieved councillors, informed New Era this week they (LPM) deliberated on the issue, including the legality of their removal.

"We are seeking the retraction of the decision barring me and Anseline Beukes from attending sessions in the August House," he stated.

The Keetmanshoop Rural constituency councillor said should their request be denied, they would lodge an urgent application in a court of law to get the National Council's decision removing them as members to be invalidated.

In a recent communication, National Council chairperson Lukas Muha reminded //Kharas Regional Council chairperson Beatus Kasete earlier this week to finalise the election of replacements for the two LPM councillors on or before 9 May 2021. In a directive from the Secretary to the National Council, it was explained that in terms of section 26(2)(b) of the Regional Councils Act 22 of 1992, any NC seat becoming vacant should be filled within 30 days from the date it occurred. The letter further states that the two removed councillors should be notified not to participate in any National Council activities as such.

It also directed that members to be elected from the //Kharas region to fill the two vacancies should be eligible as such in terms of the law. When approached for comment, Kasete confirmed that the two National Council vacancies should be filled by 9 May 2021, but that they (regional council) are waiting for directives from the regional council's chairperson.

"Due to the fact that these two LPM councillors, Gerrit Witbooi and Anseline Beukes, are still adamant that they remain members of the NC, disputing its decision removing them, we have to wait now on direction to determine the way forward," he explained.

Meanwhile, Matheus Mumbala, Swapo's //Kharas regional coordinator, said his party will abide by the law and wait for the National Council to pronounce itself on the issue of the LPM councillors refusing to vacate their seats in the August House.

"These two councillors should always remember that the law will not allow them to fill the two positions as members of both the management committee and National Council, and they should rather relinquish one of them," he stressed.

Mumbala also confirmed that the elections to replace the two should be conducted by 9 May 2021, in terms of the law, but that the three Swapo councillors were not yet invited to a meeting for such elections.

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