The Oniipa Town Council is facing a leadership crisis as Swapo fights to gain control of the town’s management committee, currently consisting of two Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) councillors and one Swapo councillor.
Swapo has four seats in the town council while IPC has three. Those in the management committee are David Nghifikepunye and Petrus Nakanyala from the IPC and Swapo’s Hileni Iidhogela.
The Oshikoto regional executive committee and Oniipa district executive are reportedly unhappy that Swapo are in the majority on the council but its councillors are not on the management committee.
This led to the Swapo Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu suspending Oniipa mayor Augustus Jafet last week, for allegedly supporting an opposition party at Oniipa.
Jafet reportedly nominated IPC councillors to serve in the management committee and abstained from participating in the secondment of Swapo councillors nominated to serve in the management committee during the election of political office-bearers at Oniipa last year.
“Chief (Jafet) does not talk to other Swapo councillors at the town. They need to work together for the sake of development in the town. He thinks Swapo wants to remove him from his mayoral position but that is not the case. Swapo needs the management committee,” a council source told The Namibian yesterday.
The source said Swapo councillors had planned to have a meeting on Monday, but Jafet allegedly failed to attend the meeting.
“He said he could only attend the meeting if Amukwiyu responded to the letter he wrote on Wednesday last week,” the source said.
Jafet wrote a letter to Amukwiyu last Wednesday castigating him for his suspension and calling him an enemy of progress at Oniipa and in the Oshikoto region.
Yesterday, a group of people calling themselves Swapo members, supporters and sympathisers, staged a protest calling for the reinstatement of Jafet.
“We, the Oniipa Swapo members, supporters and sympathisers [are] unhappy with the suspension of the mayor of the Oniipa Town Council, councillor Augustus Jafet (chief Nangolo),” noted the demonstrators in a petition.
The protesters accused Oniipa constituency councillor Vilho Nuunyango of interfering in the issues of the Swapo Oniipa district office administration.
“We demand an explanation, why you instigated some of the local authority councillors against councilor Jafet Augustus-chief Nangolo,” noted the petition.
The petitioners said they have lost hope and faith in Nuunyango. They gave him seven working days to respond to their demand, or resign with immediate effect.
Nuunyango told The Namibian yesterday that he has nothing to do with the suspension of Jafet.
“I will respond to their petition as they have requested but I have nothing to do with the mayor’s suspension,” Nuunyango said.
Amukwiyu was not available for comment yesterday.
Oniipa district coordinator Paulus Shimakeleni refused to comment on the mayor’s suspension, saying he does not discuss party– related matters in the media.
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