Shenanigans of Keetmans Politics

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Dear Editor How can Brown and Elago be so……? This is the question on everyone’s mind in Keetmanshoop after the stalled election of office-bearers for the town’s Local Authority. Taking a closer look at the process, inevitably I’ll be forced to focus on the personalities or should I reluctantly say politicians who have stifled this election. The reason for the impasse it appears is the reluctance of three councillors, two from Swapo Party and the CoD new kid on the block who so far have refused to cooperate in this process. The former management committee chairperson Swapo Party councillor, Fina Elago and her colleague Basil Brown refused nominations for ordinary and additional members of the three-member management committee. To add insult to injury, barely an hour after having taken oath of office, the CoD newcomer Arnold Losper also refused the nomination despite being seconded by his fellow CoD councilor. This man has not only made mockery of the oath of office, but is by default a historical figure who after having been sworn in refused to accept a position of responsibility (management) in less than an hour. Word is on the street that he is under the heavy hand of the two Swapo Party councillors. In fact, those in the chamber witnessed that he refused the nomination immediately after a note was passed on to him by Brown. The suspicion is that he was instructed by the two Swapo councillors to do so. After, the 2004 local authority elections, the available 7 (seven) seats were allocated as follows, three to Swapo Party, two to the Congress of Democrats (CoD) and one each to the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) and the Republican Party. It was clear then and now that if they vote as a block the CoD, DTA and RP councillors, with the four seats/votes among themselves, will control the council, but have so far refused to exercise this option. On this score the councillors have repeatedly pronounced themselves that it would be in the best interest of the town if they elect a Swapo mayor and Swapo-controlled management committee. Thus, during the 2004/2005 (two) terms Swapo Party councillor, S. P. Tiboth, was elected as the town’s mayor with Fina Elago firmly in the driving seat as chairperson of the management committee and the ever ready Brown as her deputy, thanks to the political maturity of what Brown very often refers to as the opposition councillors. It is well known by now that Elago had the mayoral chain on her mind and Brown the chairpersonship of the MC for the 2006 term. I see nothing wrong with the political aspirations of the two, but what annoys me is the narrow-mindedness and political immaturity of the two. It appears that the two are too blind for the political reality. Reality dictates that the Swapo Party does not have the majority in the council and depends on an alliance to claim the council. Secondly, the two have no respect, first and foremost, for the residents of the town, party supporters and senior party leaders. Don’t you understand, you can only be elected into these positions if you get the votes of either the CoD, DTA or RP. That was the case since 2004. In this whole process the two are failing to do self-evaluation. Obviously they should ask themselves how do we perform, why have the fellow councilors turned their backs on us after having voted us into these positions for two terms, despite our party affiliations. Some of the reasons are the derogatory remarks, backbiting, bigotry and Brown has of late apparently developed a habit of referring to them as an ethnic clique, and above all they are bad relationship managers. If this name-calling is true, my advice to Brown is that it may result in his political demise. They have failed dismally to transform and rise above party politics for the common good of the residents. On the contrary this is what matters to the new elected deputy mayor, Peter John Visser R.P., Thomas Coleman of CoD, S.P Tiboth of Swapo Party and Moses Titus of the DTA. The challenge has been thrown to you to serve the residents of the town in whatever capacity you are nominated. The argument Brown is advancing is that he will not accept nomination from the opposition while there are three members from the Swapo Party in the council. It appears that Brown is confused with the term opposition. To my understanding in the case of the Keetmans-hoop local authority, Swapo through its minority vote is now on the opposing side simply because the CoD, RP and DTA wants to take over the management through the majority vote, but still support Tiboth and elected him unanimously as mayor. Stop hiding behind Swapo, stop threatening people with the Swapo Party – the two of you are becoming a liability for the party. This is where the acrobatics of Losper come into play; he is refusing to accept nomination as management committee member because Tiboth has apparently refused to nominate Elago as mayor candidate. Prompted by this rather strange political choreography, CoD supporters held a peaceful demonstration waving placards demanding: “Remove this Swapo councilor occupying a CoD seat.” One prominent CoD leader during the day of the failed elections wanted to know from him since when is Swapo’s business his. It will be foolish of me to believe that the chaos in Keetmanshoop is borne out of party politics. It’s about disrespect, contempt and above all selfishness. What makes you think that you (Brown & Elago) have the birth right to be elected as mayor and chairperson of the management committee despite having performed dismally if the recent demonstration by council workers is anything to go by? Stop hiding behind the Swapo Party. Why are the CoD, DTA and RP prepared to vote for Tiboth as mayor – simply because of the leadership qualities he possesses? Those of us who care know that you and some high ranking municipal officials together with their cohorts were behind the recent demonstrations by the council workers in an apparent move to discredit Tiboth. But, the issues mentioned in the petition very much reflect on the performances of the CEO and the management committee, on which both of you serve. Issues such as non-payment of third parties, employee tax, pension, medical aid contribution and NamWater are essentially management issues. If CEO Shangadi has failed to renew the license discs of the council fleet and through this inefficiency incurred a penalty of N$17 000 and made the council liable, then you need to ask yourselves did I do my job as management committee. You were kept in the dark by Shangadi about many important decisions and you failed to take steps against him. Elago you have long ago abrogated your powers as management committee chairperson to Shangadi. Brown be honest; tell the residents that your wife has sued the council, how come you want to be elected as chairperson of the management committee? It is this body that will decide whether it will defend the lawsuit of your wife or settle the case. In conclusion, in the apparent inability of political parties to discipline its councilors such as Brown, Elago and Losper, the time has come for the residents to speak out and it is time that we unite speak with one voice. Stop accusing people of tribalism simply because they no longer are prepared to elect you into positions of responsibility because you have been found wanting. Lastly my advice to Shangadi is to stick his professional duties as CEO and stop meddling in politics. The Keetmanshoop community wants you to discipline your workforce, who seriously lack work ethics. Osama of the South