INDEPENDENT Patriots for Change (IPC) president Panduleni Itula has hit back at president Hage Geingob for saying opposition councillors cannot run a municipality.
He says previous Swapo administrations have looted council coffers.
If the opposition cannot run municipalities, it implies a weak leader at the top, Itula says.
“You cannot lead the people who are failing and you blame people that they are failing. Blame yourself.
“Let the message go to his excellency Dr Hage Geingob, how much ever we respect him because of the position he occupies,” Itula said at the launch of his party’s 2024 election campaign at Ongwediva on Saturday.
Geingob recently said opposition parties should not fool the nation by making people believe they can run the country, while they are unable to manage a municipality.
“You cannot run a municipality. You want to run this country? Mhmm! Don’t fool us,” Geingob said while addressing the Swapo Party Youth League congress at Ongwediva.
Itula responded over the weekend by saying: “Let his excellency tell us how to run a council – the lowest tier of government that actually serves the people – without money while your own people looted the coffers of the nation. How do you run it?
“How is it possible for the leader of a country, the president of a country, to point fingers at his fellow leaders, saying they cannot run local authority councils?”
Itula said leaders are not supposed to attack their followers, but rather help their followers.
He cited the City of Windhoek as an example, saying his party has four out of 15 councillors.
The remaining 11 support Swapo, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), the National Unity Democratic Organisation, the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement, and the Landless People’s Movement (LPM).
The opposition leader said in terms of democracy, there is nothing his party councillors can do because they are a minority in the council.
Itula said the party was going to remove its Windhoek councillors in November this year, had they not been relegated to ordinary councillors last week.
IPC councillors were removed from the management committee last week, following a vote of no confidence brought against them by AR councillor Ilse Keister.
She chairs the new committee consisting of Swapo councillors Austin Kwenani, Sam Nujoma (not the founding president), Clemencia Hanases (PDM), and Ivan Skrywer (LPM).
“We were going to take them out in November and they pre-empted us, that’s why we say good enough. Let’s sit in out. Let’s see how they will deliver.
“What is taking place in the city is that those who were saying the ruling party is not good enough, they were saying the ruling party is corrupt, they are now sitting with the ruling party.
“Have they changed? How do you come and blame the ruling party that is stealing money and you go and sit alongside with the thieves to steal together?” Itula said.
Itula said his party is the only hope for Namibians.
Contacted for comment Skrywer said Itula’s comments are nonsensical, misplaced and lack substance.
He said none of the opposition councillors nominated or seconded Swapo councillors.
“There is nothing to eat at the City of Windhoek. There is no coalition between Swapo and the opposition, none whatsoever,” Skrywer said.
PDM spokesperson Hidipo Hamata accused the IPC of playing ‘Mickey Mouse’ politics.
“Itula does not know what he is talking about. We are not here to play Mickey Mouse politics or dilekende. Just because the IPC doesn’t want to work with others, we, the PDM, must leave the nation hanging to satisfy the IPC’s egos.
“No, we want services for the people as we have been talking about in our manifesto and all public meetings . . . We are following the situation at the City of Windhoek with an eagle eye,” Hamata said.
Calls to Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor went unanswered at the time of going to print.
Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari said: “Under the leadership of president Hage Geingob, Namibians came together and celebrated a successful weekend of Heroes Day commemoration and the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair. Itula will not spoil it with petty comments.”