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New Windhoek mayor speaks on mountain of challenges

NEW Windhoek mayor Joseph Uapingene says he is faced with a mountain of challenges in his new role, but insists he is up to the task.

The National Unity Democratic organisation (Nudo) councillor says addressing disunity among political representatives in the Windhoek municipal council and the appointment of a chief executive officer (CEO) are his immediate priorities.

“I want the substantive CEO to be appointed, while trying to unify a working relationship between other councillors,” Uapingene says.

He says he prefers that the municipality implement the resolution that was taken regarding the appointment of a CEO.

Following a protracted recruitment process, the City of Windhoek appointed Conrad Lutombi, following the approval of the minister of urban and rural development, Erastus Uutoni.

However, the process hit a snag when Lutombi declined the offer and opted to stay on at Roads Authority, where he is the CEO.

It remains to be seen whether the municipality would appoint the second-best candidate or restart the recruitment process.

“I know there was a battle about the appointment of a CEO. And I was one of those against that because, according to me, there were irregularities.

“But whether you are for or against the process, when the resolution is made by the council, it becomes binding.

“So the resolution was taken that the candidate had to be appointed. Advice was sought from the minister, and according to him, the person should be appointed.

“ . . . it is an administrative task that is left to us to back the second candidate. Because, once we go back to reappoint, I can assure you it would take another six to seven months,” Uapingene says.


Uapingene was elected mayor over a week ago, after several councillors declined nominations for the mayoral position.

He is deputised by Swapo councillor Magdalena Lombardt.

His nomination by Swapo is, however, construed by other opposition representatives as a betrayal.

“But I don’t know in what sense, because we (Nudo) were the ones leading the negotiations.

“Back in our minds, we were saying ‘what is our common goal here, was it to isolate ourselves from other parties (Swapo)’.

“We said we don’t want to work with Swapo, and then a person will ask yourself that the last vote of no confidence, during that period all the parties were working with Swapo. It was just six months back. So, what is the problem now with working with Swapo from this year? For me, there is no difference. The matter is how we work together, but not about where you’re coming from,” Uapingene said.

“I want to work as a team. I have already started reaching out to councillors on why they did not participate in the new management committee for us to be united.”


Uapingene, who served as deputy mayor last year, says he would like to see through the completion of buy-back centres and land delivery.

“There are some resolutions we have already approved, like the buy-back centres we have to build in Katutura and Otjomuise for recycling. This would also help us in the cleanliness of the city and put bread on the table of schoolchildren,” he says.

“Secondly, some people in the informal settlements grabbed land. They have stayed there for 20 years, but it is still not their land.

“So, that is one thing I want to work hard on. Those who are already proclaimed, we can give them the offer to can buy that land which they can call their own.”


Uapingene says he is concerned over local authority budgets that are approved later, in the year.

Municipality budgets, including that of the City of Windhoek, are approved by the minister of urban and rural development after the national budget has been approved.

“That really affects us a lot. I have received an office without a budget. And I will only get a new budget approved in July. So, what do you expect, how do I deliver if I don’t have money and with four months left?

“I think either the financial year should start in January . . . “ the mayor says.

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