Namibia: 'I Won't Resign'

INDEPENDENT Patriots for Change councillor for the Swakopmund constituency Ciske Howard-Smith says she will not resign from the party or her post as the chairperson of the Erongo Regional Council.

"I am not going to resign because I have a duty to the people. It was not Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) that voted me into office but the people. I am going to do what I promised the people of Swakopmund," says Howard-Smith who has been barred from executing party duties until further notice.

IPC spokesperson Immanuel Nashinge refused to confirm or deny Howard-Smith's suspension, instead party general secretary Christine Aochamus promised to issue a statement but did not confirm when it would be released.

The Regional Council Act does not make provision for a party to suspend a regional councilor, because such a person is voted into the position by the people, and can only be removed by the people. IPC can only remove Howard-Smith by cancelling her party membership.

Meanwhile, political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah has cautioned the IPC against suspending and recalling its office-bearers. Kamwanyah says while the party is trying to create an impression of doing good by suspending public office-bearers who are believed to be in the wrong, it must follow all procedures within the party.

He says the rules must be implemented as a collective.

"It must not be a one-man show. It should be within the procedures and process. I am worried about IPC as it sometimes feels like a one-man show, suspending people without warning. That might spell a negative for a new party that is trying to build itself," he says.

Kamwanyah further says the Howard-Smith issue should be dealt with cautiously, as it could have ramifications for the party should it turn out things were done unprocedurally.

Kamwanyah further expressed concern at secrecy within the party, in not publicly confirming or denying Howard-Smith's suspension.

"What kind of a party is this that operates like the FBI? That's problematic. As much as they complain about Swapo's deals they must also be transparent," he says.

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