Political infighting has put the northern town of Oshakati in a terrible operational situation – with the town’s Acting CEO continuing to “act” even while his contract of appointment has expired.
The councillors of the town were supposed to be sworn-in for another 12 months on 2 March 2020 at 14h00 in the Council’s Chamber but none of the councillors, nor the town’s Acting CEO or the PRO turned up.
The invited guests and the media came at the venue but they only learned through a telephone call to the Acting CEO that the swearing-in was postponed.
The town’s annual Business Breakfast which was supposed to take place on 5 March 2020 was also cancelled at the last minute.
When contacted for comment Acting Chief Executive Officer of Oshakati Mr Kornelius Kapolo told Omutumwa that the Business Breakfast was postponed indefinitely due to the unavailability of the keynote speaker Mr Calle Schlettwein the minister of finance.
But Kapolo did not respond to further questions sent to him. Instead he said: “Please take note that my position as acting CEO of Oshakati Town ended on 29 February 2020.”
Kapolo could not comment on the question of whether it is a legal dilemma for the town to operate while the people who are supposed to extend his appointment, or find a replacement, have not been sworn-in.
“I am not in a position to talk to the media, please communicate with the Mayor or PRO,” he said.
Both the Mayor of Oshakati Mr Angelus Iiyambo and the town’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Ms Katarina Kamari did not pick up their phones when called by Omutumwa. In fact Kamari has for the past two weeks been ignoring the calls from Omutumwa.
The political wrangles in Oshakati started in November 2018 when the whole team of six Swapo councillors was suspended for failure to do what Swapo’s Secretary General Ms Sophia Shaningwa instructed them to do.
In August 2018 Mr Onesmus Shilunga was sworn-in to replace a Swapo councillor who had died. By November of the same year Shaningwa instructed the Swapo councillors to appoint Shilunga to be chairperson of the town’s management committee. But the councillors refused and instead appointed another councillor Ms Katrina Shimbulu to the position.
This caused the anger of Shaningwa who suspended all her six councillors for two weeks before they were reinstated.
Before the November 2019 National Assembly elections took place Katrina Shimbulu resigned from Oshakati Town Council so that she may vie for a seat at Parliament. After she failed to get a seat in Parliament Shimbulu came back to reclaim her seat at Oshakati Town Council.
This, according to media reports, did not go down well with Shilunga and another councillor Mr Gabriel Kamwanka, who boycotted Shimbulu’s swearing-in.
But this did not please the Swapo Party, so that the party is said to be investigating the conduct of the two Swapo councillors, and this had led to the postponement of the swearing-in of the entire Oshakati Town Council which is made up of six Swapo councillors and one PDM councillor.
IN THE PHOTO: Mayor of Oshakati Mr Angelus Iiyambo