RDP Condemns Political Violence

The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) has condemned the politically motivated violence allegedly meted out against its members at Outapi in the Omusati Region.

RDP says the incident was an unprovoked attack that took place while its members were holding a branch meeting to strategize their election campaign.

The opposition party says four of its members were injured in a fracas “aimed at consolidating the Swapo Party philosophy that Omusati Region is and should remain a no-go zone for other political parties”.

RDP secretary for information and publicity, Jeremiah Nambinga, claimed there were other powers at work intimidating people, though he was convinced the instructions to attack did not necessarily come from the Swapo leadership.

He said some Swapo supporters do not respect President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who is also the Swapo Party president, who urged all political parties to campaign peacefully for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections slated for November this year. Pohamba made the call while on a three-day official visit to Swakopmund last week, when he met several regional and local authority councillors including the Erongo Regional Governor, Cleophas Mutjavikua.

Pohamba had appealed to all parties contesting the elections to campaign peacefully, saying Namibia does not want any fights or bloodshed.

But shortly after the President had spoken a group of about 50 Swapo members allegedly attacked RDP leaders at Outapi in the Omusati Region for allegedly manhandling and damaging their properties.

“Political violence is a serious concern. When you refer to elections as being free and fair, you do not only refer to voters at the ballot box,” said Nambinga, adding that the playing field must be levelled so that every party can campaign freely.

He added that the RDP was being particularly targeted and the police were partial in maintaining law and order as in the 2009 incident where Swapo supporters allegedly stoned RDP members at Okuryangava in Katutura but nothing came of it.

Republican Party (RP) president Henk Mudge said his party had not experienced violence or intimidation but they were “being closely followed by Swapo members” during election campaigns.

He said they have had no direct confrontation with any other political party and had no issue of feeling unsafe either.

However, Mudge said some Swapo supporters were unruly, were taking things too far and were not being reprimanded for their bad behaviour.

“Political violence is serious and interestingly more so in the four ‘O’ Regions where Swapo is dominant,” he said.

DTA president McHenry Venaani commended Pohamba for his statement on peace, saying it was indeed noble.

He said the ‘no go area’ attitude of some Swapo supporters against opposition parties in certain areas was unacceptable and a provocation.

He also said culprits were not taken to task for continuance of their violence.

Venaani said even just one act of violence could ignite a war in the country.

“We should do whatever we can to eradicate violence at all costs,” he said.

Pohamba warned those who were defacing posters of rival political parties to desist, and mentioned as examples Somalia, Egypt, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where people are killing each other instead of concentrating on developing their country.

“You cannot talk about development if there is no peace in a country,” stressed Pohamba.

Source : New Era