A member of the Landless People Movement political party, for which she was the national spokesperson, she was unanimously elected as the new mayor of Windhoek City Council on December 1.
Windhoek has a population of around 450,000. Te Mayor of Windhoek is the political head of Council and its Chairperson. Like other elected municipal leaders in Namibia, the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Windhoek have no executive powers and perform their duties on part time basis. In carrying out this mandate the Mayor is assisted by a five Management Committee members and the Chief Executive Officer and heads the political arm of the City. Under current legislation, the role of the Mayor is largely a ceremonial one, however, takes political responsibility for a city. For this reason, the day to day administration of the Office of the Mayor falls under the Office of the Chief Executive Officer. By provision of the Act the Mayor is conferred with supervisory powers over Council in terms of policy direction and execution of all development programmes and projects in the City.
Sade Gawanas replaces former mayor Job Amupanda and was presented with the symbolic mayoral chain. Gawanas benefited from the collapse of Windhoek’s coalition of “progressive forces”, which was composed of the Independent Patriots for Change, AR, and the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), to emerge as a strong candidate for mayor. “We must collectively fight corruption, fraud, irregularities, nepotism, favoritism and negative culture. We must be committed to providing effective services. We must balance and constantly link our decisions to the realities of our communities,” said the new mayor, who will have Joseph Uapingene of the National Unity Democratic Organisation as her deputy.
Before entering politics, Sade Gawanas worked as a flight attendant for the now defunct national airline Air Namibia. She also won the title of second runner-up in the Miss Namibia contest in 2007. She resigned from her full-time position as a flight attendant in 2019 to run for a position in the National Assembly, in accordance with a directive from the Electoral Commission of Namibia that prohibits politicians from running for election to the National Assembly while holding their current positions, as stipulated in Article 47 of the Constitution of Namibia.
Sade Gawanas was not elected because the Landless People’s Movement only managed to get four seats in the National Assembly. Nevertheless, in 2020, Sade Gawanas became one of two LPM leaders chosen to sit on the Windhoek City Council, where she became an ordinary councillor.
“When I joined the LPM, I was ready for the political sphere. I was raised by my aunt Bience since the age of 11 and I knew what politics meant, the commitment, sacrifice and hard work involved, but most of all the integrity and honesty that is the basis of leadership,” Sade Gawanas said in an interview.
Her aunt, Bience Gawanas, is a special adviser to the United Nations for Africa. Prior to that, she was commissioner for social affairs at the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government.