Letter Leads to Council Spat

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By Engel Nawatiseb GROOTFONTEIN Re-elected Mayor of Groot-fontein Rapama Kamehozu who was sworn in last Friday has lashed out at some councillors for running to the press just to spoil the image of its leaders. A visibly angry Kame-hozu said that he felt betrayed by certain elected office-bearers who ran to the media on the appointment of some staff members. In a letter published by The Namibian newspaper on Tuesday, May 5,2006 a certain N. M. Boois wrote from Grootfontein that council had appointed an unqualified accountant as well as an HIV/AIDS coordinator only in possession of a grade 10 certificate but failed to appoint candidates with relevant qualifications. “The funniest thing about the matter is that all of them who were employed are Swapo party members. When are we going to put politics aside and build the nation,” the author wanted to know. In a heated debate at an extra-ordinary council meeting that followed the swearing-in ceremony, the mayor said council only suspected opposition party members of encouraging negative publicity of council. “We in Swapo speak the same language, there is no doubt that our comrades would harbour such destructive and negative agendas. This is our platform to speak out and discuss our disagreements but the moment we step out of these four walls (chamber), we all are bound to any resolution taken collectively.” On his part, Councillor Henk Botha representing the RP party said that he was surprised by the revelation of the mayor. “It is the first time that I hear about it, I will never work against the spirit of the code of conduct because I feel a bigger need than infighting … .” In a surprise move, CoD councillor Titus Boois rose to confirm that the author of the letter was his son and that he saw no reason for council to condemn its contents. Boois then challenged his fellow councillors to submit proof of the qualifications of some appointeess, noting that something was “fishy”. “Yes, it is true what my son has published and if we can be honest on appointments, I have got proof of what we are saying.” At that point, Kamehozu offered to excuse Boois to quickly collect his proof from the human resources office in order to put the matter to rest. Boois however stated that he first needed to consult the “long list” and “short list” before he could discuss the matter further. A furious chairperson of the management committee of council Jonas Oxurub then proposed that Boois’ position not be regarded as a true reflection of the meeting. “We have identified the culprit; Boois has confirmed … but I need to remind you that if you do not talk here, do not go to the public and tarnish our image. I challenge the opposition members to prove whether Swapo councillors ever opposed proposals of a developmental nature submitted by representatives of opposition parties. We take collective decisions in this chamber and if we have failed the community, both you (opposition) and us (Swapo) are to blame. You are part and parcel of council’s failure,” said an irate Oxurub. Kamehozu once again joined the fray: “We have great respect for your (opposition) national leaders and respect the value of their contributions in parliament and elsewhere. Believe you me, some contributions that they make in parliament are convincing at times to influence U-turns from Swapo parliamentarians to avoid taking ill-advised decisions. The opposition also want to see development taking place. It helps to speak out here, maybe your (Boois’s) voice could assist us to take informed decisions. But I have noted with keen interest how some of you sit here like deadwood but are quick to resort to childish politics outside here. “We never used our majority to enforce decisions on you, we can do that if we are provoked but we are not as stupid as you might think because we will never consider that option and compromise development at the end. Here we reach consensus because it is our right, all of us, to disagree inside the chamber but some of you do not even contribute and only sit here to claim allowances. We will report you,” stated Kamehozu. Oxurub said that council will implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a matter of priority and also make the Swapo Party Election Manifesto and Vision 2030 working documents of council. Council further resolved to take legal action against the author of the letter to The Namibian to claim for damages it has reportedly suffered. Council further resolved to report the misconduct of councillor Boois to the leadership of the CoD party. A new councillor, Emma Taukuheke representing Swapo Party, was sworn in as Deputy Chairperson of the Management Committee, replacing former councillor Henry Munyama. Swapo Party’s Paulus Hangula was re-elected as Deputy Mayor and Paulus Wimmerth of the DTA as member of the Management Committee.