RDP Tells RP Members to Stay Put

THE Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) says its divorce with the Republican Party (RP) was instituted without consultation and as such, the members who joined the official opposition party are aised to “remain put”.

This was announced by RDP secretary general Mike Kavekotora on Monday when he told reporters at a media briefing in Windhoek that the move by RP president Henk Mudge was “unrealistic and insensitive”.

Mudge announced two weeks ago that he would propose that his party supports Swapo presidential candidate Hage Geingob in the presidential election. Mudge also said he had ended RP’s three-year political relationship with the RDP. “RDP understands Henk Mudge, like any other Namibian, has the democratic right to support a candidate of his choice, but to expect former members of RP who moved over to RDP to support his candidate blindly is not only unrealistic but also insensitive,” Kavekotora said.

Even though Kavekotora confirmed that Mudge spoke to RDP president Hidipo Hamutenya before calling it quits, they still insisted that consulting their president was not enough consultation.

Kavekotora charged that Mudge did not consult his former party members nor the committee that was set up by the two parties and does not include Hamutenya. “Instead of consulting, Mudge just went to the media,” he said. Kavekotora warned Mudge of the danger of a one-party state saying that in politics, one has to be principled.

“RDP wishes to appeal to its members specifically former RP members to remain calm, collected, united but vigilant,” he said.

RP and RDP agreed to work together in September 2010 with an intention to merge, and as a result, some former RP councillors became RDP councillors in areas such as Windhoek and Aranos.

One of the councillors who has decided to stay put despite the pulling out of the merger by his president is Windhoek local authority councillor Tartisius Gaeseb who says that he will remain in RDP.

“I will remain in the party until we realise the objective we initially agreed to,” he said.

Gaeseb was instrumental in the merger between the two parties as he is one of the people who drafted the agreement. Hamutenya told reporters at the same media briefing that he was not surprised by Mudge’s action but said they could not force him to stay.

“Its his position, we accept what he said,” Hamutenya said. Meanwhile, Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba welcomed the decision by the RP to support their presidential candidate. He said everyone has the right to decide who they want to vote for, whether its a decision by an individual or a community or organisation.

“It is up to them but off course I am happy that they are supporting our candidate. They are welcome,” Mbumba said. RP president said last month they are in the process of organising a congress, which will be held within the next six weeks. “I can announce that I will submit a motion at the said congress in which I will propose that the Republican Party of Namibia will not contest in the Presidential election but that we should support the candidacy of Hage Geingob,” he said.

Mudge, however, insisted that as long as opposition parties remain fragmented, it will remain a futile exercise for them to contest in the presidential elections.

“We, as the RP, would rather want to show our support for Geingob and work together with him as President of Namibia for the benefit of the whole nation,” he said.

Source : The Namibian