Omuthiya defies minister’s orders

The Omuthiya Town Council has not yet reinstated suspended Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) councillor Nghipudilo ya Shiindi.

This is despite a directive from minister of urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni to do so a year ago.

Omuthiya mayor Johannes Ndeutepo suspended Ya Shiindi for an indefinite period in July last year, while councillors Moses Amukoto and Beata Josef were suspended for 30 working days.

The three have been on suspension for 11 months with no pay or benefits over alleged misconduct.

This came as the councillors allegedly convened an illegal meeting with the residents of an informal settlement at Omuthiya on 2 July.

Only Swapo councillors are currently attending council meetings.

In a letter dated 21 December 2023, addressed to Ndeutepo, Uutoni said he was not convinced there were sufficient grounds to justify Ya Shiindi’s removal.

Uutoni said this request was not approved.

Since then, letters have been exchanged between the minister and the mayor, with Ndeutepo pushing for Ya Shiindi’s removal.

Nghipudilo ya Shiindi


Ndeutepo yesterday told The Namibian only Ya Shiindi was suspended.

Ndeutepo said the council has decided to remove Ya Shiindi, although it has not received Uutoni’s approval.

“The ministry seems to think it is responsible for passing judgment on the conduct of the councillor … I think it’s a legal matter now,” he said.

The mayor said the Local Authorities Act prescribes that a councillor found guilty of misconduct may be removed with ministerial approval.

“Now the minister is saying he is not convinced the councillor should be removed because of that conduct. But in terms of our view and of the act, that is not his decision to make,” Ndeutepo said.

He said the council has already decided that Ya Shiindi is guilty and should therefore be removed.

“He [Uutoni] just has to confirm whether a valid guilty resolution has been passed,” Ndeutepo said.

“Together with the minister we would probably have to embark on a process, because we clearly have a difference of opinion,” he said.

Ndeutepo said he last communicated with Uutoni in April.

Calls and questions sent to Uutoni were not answered by the time of going to print yesterday.

Erastus Uutoni

IPC spokesperson Immanuel Nashinge yesterday said Uutoni has some explaining to do.

“Why should a minister be begging his Swapo member who is the mayor of Omuthiya?” he asked.

Ya Shiindi yesterday said neither she nor her fellow suspended councillors have received their salaries since their suspension and there have been no invitations to council meetings.

“A council member can only be removed from office when that member is convicted or found guilty by a competent court of law … Ndeutepo is not a court,” she said.

“The mayor found me guilty of his very own allegations and then punished me. Wherever he got that power from, only he can answer.”

Ya Shiindi said the council does not invite other council members to meetings because they did not take an oath.

Amukoto said the ball is in Uutoni’s court to use his powers as minister and dissolve the council.

“I have so far missed about three council meetings … Imagine a council under Swapo councillors only. A lot is happening behind closed doors there,” he said.

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