By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK The former mayor of Walvis Bay bares neither malice nor grudges against anybody for having been ousted from the post he has occupied for the past four years. King Mandume Muatunga was ‘dethroned’ last week. On the contrary, Muatunga was in a jovial mood yesterday when contacted for comment on the switchover. “There is nothing sinister involving a palace revolt or a power struggle within the Swapo Party at the coast as some people would like to think. It was a normal democratic decision for me to step down as mayor to allow someone else to take over the reins. In fact, I am still very much in the picture in civil affairs as the chairman of the management committee of Walvis Bay,” said Muatunga telephonically. Muatunga had served three terms as mayor before he was replaced by Derek Klazen, a local teacher and a Swapo councillor. “We have to respect and abide by the decisions of our party, something I have been doing for the past eight years and will continue to do. It has nothing to do with a specific person being elected to the post of mayor. It’s a party decision. By the way, I have been serving the Walvis Bay Council and the town’s people in a dual capacity, mayor and chairman of the management committee, for the past three years,” said Muatunga, who welcomed his new position to which, he stressed, he had been democratically elected. The former mayor expressed pride about the fact that he had been the initiator of the now fully functioning National Mayors Forum representing a number of local authorities. “A definite highlight for me during my tenure as mayor of Walvis Bay is the fact that I was appointed to the position of chairman of the forum by the Minister of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development. I am still serving the nation in this capacity,” said the popular personality, who has donned the mayoral chain for almost four years. It is generally accepted that the role of a mayor is more of a ceremonial one, whereas chairman of the management committee is more powerful when it comes to decision making. According to Muatunga, one has to take on new challenges all the time and move on instead of stagnating in one position. The ex-mayor considers his efforts to have brought the business sector and the coastal communities closer together during his term in office as another milestone. Swapo is the dominant party in the Walvis Bay Municipality with eight seats, the Congress of democrats one and the DTA one seat.
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