WINDHOEK, FEB 14 – Following their recall by Secretary General of SWAPO Party Sophia Shaningwa, Rundu Local Authority Councilors Anastacia Shinduvi Antonio, Toini Hausiku and Isaak Kandingu instructed their legal counsel to challenge the directive that stripped them of their powers, within a week of them being sworn in.
The trio sought counsel from Kadhila Amoomo Legal Practitioners, whom in turn have demanded that Shaningwa immediately cease and desist from any actions that would culminate in the withdrawal of their clients from office as councilors.
Today (14 February 2019) a letter from the legal counsel of the trio directed to SG Shaningwa, implied that although the latter had purported to withdraw the councilors as as per section 13(1)(g) of Local Authorities Act, 1992 (Act No 23 of 1992), that withdrawal was illegal in its nature.
“Our instructions are further that you purported to do so (withdraw the councilors) without having afforded our clients an opportunity to be heard before such decision was made and without following due process of Law,” read the letter that was also carbon copied to SWAPO and Namibia President Hage Geingob.
It seems indirectly, the lawyers demanded Shaningwa to immediately expel the notion of withdrawing their clients from office.
“We further demand that you provide an undertaking that you will not persist any further with any action intended to enforce your aforesaid decision.”
Shaningwa was also given an ultimatum to comply with their requests by 12:00 tomorrow (15 February 2019) lest the councilors “approach the High Court for appropriate relief.”
SWAPO Party Regional Coordinator for Kavango East, Ottilie Shinduvi, as well as the proposed successors to the ousted councilors, Johanna Kakondo, Ngondo Johannes and Safarina Kandere, were also copied in the letter.
After their recall and seeking legal counsel, the councilors further advised Shaningwa to “Kindly peruse Nghidimbwa v SWAPO Party of Namibia  NAHCMD 298.”
The case referred to involves one E.Nd. Nghidimbwa who was on a SWAPO ticket when it had won six of the seven council seats in the Helao Nafidi town council, and subsequently sworn in on 4 December 2015.
However, on 8 August 2016, Nghidimbwa was informed by current Vice-President – then Secretary General of the Swapo Party Nangolo Mbumba – that the Party had decided to withdraw her from the town council and replace her with another candidate from the Swapo Party’s election list.
Nghidimbwa contested the validity of the decision and argued that Swapo had failed to give her an opportunity to be heard before the decision was made.
SWAPO in its own right, relied on the Local Authorities Act of Namibia, and decided that there was no legal obligation on the Party to give Nghidimbwa a hearing.
However, it was Nghidimbwa who emerged from the threshold on 16 October 2017, when the Hosea Angula, then Deputy-Judge President of the High Court of Namibia ruled that the decision by Swapo “to withdraw the applicant as a councilor on the Council for the town of Helao Nafidi is set aside.”
That said, a stand-off of this particular nature will no doubt have ramifications within the Party itself, while a far-reaching effect is imminent in an election year undoubtedly pregnant with suspense following the emergence of the Landless People Movement (LPM) – spearheaded by former SWAPO MP Bernard Swaartbooi – as a Party seeking political expediency. – email@example.com