Swapo suspends members for trying to oust CRO

By Eliaser Ndeyanale

THE Swapo regional executive committee in Omaheke region has suspended three members for pushing for the suspension of Omaheke regional council’s chief regional officer Maria Vaendwanawa, who has been accused of mismanagement.

Impeccable sources have told Confidente that at its regional executive committee meeting on Friday, the party recommended the suspension of Epukiro constituency Councillor Kornelius Kanguatjivi, as well as two other regional executive members, Frans Murangi and Veronica Mokaleng-Kuzeeko.

The party also wants to recall Kanguatjivi from his councillor position and it’s understood that the regional executive committee is in the process of consulting the party’s secretary for legal affairs, Albert Kawana, to advise on the removal of Kanguatjivi.

The consultation is allegedly spearheaded by Gobabis constituency Councillor Phillip Katamelo, who is also on the Swapo parliamentary candidates list for next year.

The party’s highest regional decision making body also tasked district coordinators to “aggressively” discourage all party members not to take part in a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday, because it was allegedly organised by the opposition party, NUDO.

Asked about his suspension, Kanguatjivi said he had heard about it but had not yet received anything in writing. Murangi also said that he was aware of his imminent suspension by those who attended the meeting. “I didn’t attend the meeting but I heard that a decision was taken to suspend comrade Kanguatjivi, Veronica Mokaleng and I. I’m still waiting for the letter,” he said.

Asked why the party took a decision to suspend the three members, Swapo regional coordinator for Omaheke region Ruth Kaukuata-Mburu refused to comment, saying she does not discuss party matters with the media. “Who gave you this information? I don’t disclose party resolutions in the media … I can’t comment,” she said before putting down the phone.

Contacted for comment, Katamelo confirmed that he was summoned by the party’s regional executive committee. “I am an implicated councillor. We were called by the REC (regional executive committee). The REC summoned all of us as party functionaries. They asked … whatever they wanted to establish and thereafter we left.

“I’m not a member of the REC. There is no way that I can be given that task if I am not a member of the REC. When we were summoned, I was together with the chairperson of the regional council. They asked us that we must explain the fiasco that is going about the council, the money and whatever,” he said.

Omaheke regional council chairperson Ignatius Kariseb, who is the regional councillor for Kalahari constituency, was not available for comment on Wednesday as his number was not reachable.    

Confidente understands that the three face suspension for allegedly pushing for Vaendwanawa’s suspension through a motion tabled by an opposition councillor at a council meeting some months ago seeking the suspension of Vaendwanawa.

They want the chief regional officer to be placed on suspension for allegedly allowing the regional council to pay millions to several companies, including an accounting firm. This allegedly happened despite the regional council having a fully-fledged finance department.

Confidente understands that other entities that were paid include a law firm owned by Frans Kwala, who has allegedly been providing legal opinions to the regional council since 2013. Kwala refused to disclose how much he was paid, claiming that it is not newsworthy but said he assisted with the labour case of former chief regional officer and a land dispute case, which was completed last week.

“My hourly rate is N$2,500 and N$25,000 day fee. Take it from there. If there was a legal opinion it must be on one of the two matters,” he said. Kawana was not reachable at the time of going to print.