A Swapo Party councillor serving in the Opuwo Town Council could be axed from his position for failing to support a resolution adopted by fellow councillors who also serve on the council a Swapo ticket.
Richard Tjazapi, who is serving on a Swapo Party ticket is fighting tooth and nail to avoid being removed from the council by the party’s regional leadership who accuse him of being an Affirmative Repositioning sympathiser as well as for alleged misconduct.
A well-placed source who preferred to speak under anonymity in fear of victimisation confirmed to The Patriot this week that, Tjazapi was being targeted because he was against the automatic contract “renewal” of former Opuwo Town Council’s chief executive officer Alphons Tjitombo.
“Tjazapi is being accused of misbehaving because he was against the automatic renewal of Tjitombo’s contract-that is the bottom line. The other claims are just accusations to tarnish his image,” said the source.
“They (Swapo councillors) want to get rid of Tjazapi and to replace him with Rex Sheehama,” the source said.
Sheehama is the Chairperson of the Opuwo Town Council’s Management Committee. Also, the majority of those backing for Tjazapi to be removed are said to have benefited greatly from “dubious land deals and other malpractices” from Tjitombo during his time as CEO. According to the source, replacing Tjazapi with Sheehama (who is next on the electoral list), would increase Tjitombo’s chances of getting reappointed as the town’s executive for a third consecutive term. “Sheehama is a Tjitombo faithful and it is no secret that he will do all he can to ensure that his friend gets reappointed,” the source added.
Regional Executive Committee (REC) meeting will be held today and among the topics on the agenda will be Tjazapi’s fate.
Moreover, Tjazapi is also expected to appear before and present his side of the story to the REC.
When called to confirm the allegations, Tjazapi said he had not been informed about the REC meeting but was aware that a certain section within the party’s regional structures want him gone.
“I have no idea about the meeting (REC) as I have not been informed or summoned through writing or by any other means,” Tjazapi said during a telephonic interview this week.
“However, I’m aware that a certain faction want me out because I differed with fellow party councillors who wanted the CEO’s (Tjitombo) contract automatically renewed,” said Tjazapi.
Tjitombo’s contract ended in October, 10 years after taking charge of the office in 2006 making him the longest serving executive the town has seen. According media reports, a group of close to 250 people, including 15 business people from Opuwo staged a peaceful demonstration in September petitioning against two councillors whom they wanted removed. The two councillors were Tjazapi and Elise Hihanguapo.
In the letter which was directed to the party’s Secretary General (SG) Nangolo Mbumba, the group of demonstrators accused the Opuwo Town council of being run by the Affirmative Repositioning (AR), DTA and the two coucillors whom they termed as “reactionaries” (Tjazapi and Hihanguapo) who sold the party out.
At the time, Nampa reported that Regional Coordinator of Swapo in Kunene John Gawusab was of the view that removing the two councillors would not solve any problems suggesting that the two councillors should be called to order.
Consequently, the demonstration was viewed by many as a fabricated and reactionary move to respond to an earlier demonstration that took place at the town.
Earlier this year a group calling themselves Opuwo Community Concerned Group (OCCG) took to the streets of Opuwo to demonstrate against the snail’s paced development of the North-Western town and also called Tjotombo to step down.
In the petition that is the possession of this paper, the group accused Tjitombo of not being accessible to the community to answer their queries. Additionally, the group pointed out that since his appointment in 2006, Opuwo has seen an increase in the unfair distribution of land and the absence of serviced land.
Also, in OCCG’s petition, allegations surfaced that tenders at the town are predetermined to favour hand-picked business who had close relations with some senior members of the Opuwo Town Council.
Among other reasons, the claimed that lack of individuals in critical positions within the town council such as finance manager, technical manager, town planner, building inspector, environmental officer, firefighter, public relations officer and personal assistant to the chief executive hampered that town’s development.