Swapo in the dark over Shimbulu’s resignation

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

SWAPO regional coordinator Samuel Nelongo has said the party structures were not informed that former mayor Katrina Shimbulu had resigned from her position as local authority councillor for Oshakati Town Council. Nelongo said this in a telephonic interview with Confidente this week.

Shimbulu, who confirmed to Confidente in October that she had resigned from her position to take up a seat in the National Assembly, made an abrupt u-turn back to the Council after she failed to secure a seat in parliament after national elections held in November last year.

She was sworn in as councillor on 16 December. Her swearing-in was boycotted though by fellow Swapo Party councillors Gabriel Kamwanka and Onesmus Shilunga.

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The duo claimed at the time that they could not legitimate illegal things, because the agenda to discuss the reinstatement of Shimbulu was only brought on the day she was sworn in.

That is contravention of the Local Authority Act provision, which indicates that a local authority agenda should be brought to councillors 72 hours in advance of the meeting.

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The two councillors have not been sworn in to date. Their case is set to be discussed by the party’s district executive committee on Friday.

Nelongo said the town council had not officially informed them that Shimbulu had left the council. He added that “We cannot rely on hearsay and newspaper reports that she had left the council… [she] could have informed us about it so that she could be replaced by someone,” he said.

“Procedurally, if a councillor resigns the party has to be informed by the councilor, but that had not happened in this case. If council has not informed us, our councillors will remain as they are. It should be on record that we had not been informed that comrade Katrina had resigned.

If a blunder was made by council, that is not our mistake as a party, it’s council.”

Nelongo also defended the reluctance of the two councillors not to attend their swearing-in and that of other councilors, saying they had a point. “Their objection was legitimate,” he added.
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Oshakati Mayor Angelus Iiyambo confirmed that there will be a meeting to discuss the swearing-in of the two councilors, as at the moment they cannot attend council meetings as they have not been sworn in. Contacted for comment Shilunga declined to comment in detail, but confirmed that he and Kamwanka had not yet been sworn in.