Okahandja mayoral election remains uncertain

The Okahandja Municipality might hold the swearing-in ceremony for the local authority councillors next week.
This is contrary to an order issued by Swapo Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa this week, in which she directed that the municipality effects changes to its office bearers no later than Thursday.
Next week’s election – which still hangs in the balance – was confirmed by the Garden Town’s Chief Executive Officer Martha Mutilifa in a telephonic interview with this agency on Thursday.
“The swearing-in ceremony might take place next week,” Mutilifa said. She did not explain why the election could not take place.
On Monday, Shaningwa in a letter addressed to Swapo’s Otjozondjupa regional coordinator Susan Hikopua said: “The swearing-in for the local authority should not take place later than Thursday, 07 February, as earlier directed by the office of the Secretary General.” Last year, Shaningwa in a separate letter instructed Hikopua to effect changes to the party’s local authority office bearers in Okahandja. In that communiqué, Shaningwa made it clear that incumbent mayor Johannes Hindjou must not retain his mayoral post.
He is to be relegated to an ordinary member of the council. 
Shaningwa wants Sofia Upithe to be elected mayor, to be deputised by Gideon Uwu-Khaeb and Hileni Iita as chairperson of the management committee. The SG has not provided reasons to substantiate her directive, something that does not sit well with the Swapo District Executive Committee at the town. The directive has fallen on deaf ears and met with great resistance and has caused division among the town’s residents and party leadership alike. One faction is hell-bent that the directive be implemented as is, while another group is of the opinion that Hindjou is the right man for that post. The DEC also shares the sentiment that the ex-Brave Warriors midfielder must retain the post. In a letter dated 22 November 2018, Swapo’s DEC coordinator in Okahandja, Martha Mwandingi-Simeon informed Hikopua that they would effect changes to the council as empowered by the Swapo constitution’s Rule 64.
Consequent to that, the DEC resolved that the status quo should remain. Hindjou is to be deputised by Iita, while Uwu-Khaeb is the proposed candidate for the position of chairperson of the management committee. Upithe and Helmi Maruru are to be ordinary members of the committee. So far, two attempts to elect a mayor for Okahandja have failed. On both occasions, the electoral process reached an impasse, after residents who flocked to the council chamber to witness the swearing-in ceremony caused havoc, which led to the process being halted. Efforts to get comment from Shaningwa on Thursday proved futile as her mobile phone went unanswered.