Swapo coordinator takes swipe at magistrates

By Maria Kandjungu

SWAPO regional coordinator for Oshana region Samuel Nelongo has accused Oshakati magistrates of meddling in politics following their refusal to swear-in two reinstated Swapo councillors.

Nelongo also accused them of attempting to force Swapo to conduct their activities in a ‘damaging, chaotic and illegal manner’ when they refused to recognise the two councillors.

The two councillors, Onesmus Shilunga and Gabriel Kamwanka, were briefly recalled by the ruling party early this year for ‘unacceptable conduct’ when they walked out and boycotted the political office-bearers’ election that took place last December at Oshakati.

In February, the party made a u-turn on that decision and reinstated them. Due to the very brief timeframe between the suspension and reinstating of the councillors, Swapo, according to Nelongo could not place a notice of vacancy as required by the Local Authority Act.

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The Oshakati magistrates’ chamber is however refusing to swear them in demanding that the town council provides them with a notice of vacancy for the councillors’ initial recall before they can be sworn in.

The magistrates’ office, in a letter addressed to the acting Oshakati Chief Executive Office, Kornelius Kapolo, signed off by magistrate Helena Ekandjo, demanded for an explanation on why the town council failed to place a notice of vacancy upon the two councillors being recalled noting that the non-compliance with peremptory provision is therefore concerning and as such they are unable to go ahead with the swearing in.

“In our view [this] requires substantially compliance before the swearing in of the nominated and eligible members of the town council, first as councillors and thereafter, a nomination and election can take place for the position of an additional member of the management committee,” the letter states while requesting that the acting CEO provides them with proof of compliance before they can go ahead with the process.

Nelongo however accused  Ekandjo of taking sides with certain council members who do not want the two councillors sworn in until November when the local authority election is set to take place.

“It seems the magistrate has joined the inner party conflict and sided with some councillors who [are] opposing the swearing in of councillor Kamwanka and councillor Shilunga. It is advisable not to take side with any one when they are dealing with this community matter but to facilitate [proceedings] as per request,” Nelongo stated.

According to him, when Swapo reinstated his members, it was not necessary to place the notice anymore.

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“They are damaging the party and giving ammunition to opposition and holding us hostage from resolving our issues. They, and I am talking about magistrates here… they are assisting opposition to attack us because they do not want us to resolve our issues. We are being held hostage by the magistrates and they are creating this image that we are unable to lead the town council and its people. They have political agendas to attack the image of the party. If they want to play politics, they must join politics and not do it from the judiciary chairs.

Confidente could not get a comment from the magistrates as office numbers went unanswered while the deputy director of public relations in the office of the judiciary, Ockert Jansen, could not provide an official response by time of going to print.