Rehoboth Veterans Threaten Poll Boycott

Swapo Party’s chairperson of the leaders assigned to the Hardap Region, Bernhard Esau, says calls to nullify the party structures in the region will not be entertained. In the same breath he urged all party members in the region to give their attention to the upcoming elections in November.

A group calling itself Swapo Party Veterans in the Rehoboth Urban East District are threatening to boycott this year’s polls if Swapo Party fails to attend to complaints regarding the legality of the recently decided district level party structure establishment. “This chapter is closed … now we are concentrating on the elections. I was there myself when the establishment [of the district’s leadership] took place. The issue here is that people do not want to accept defeat. But as I said we are preparing for the elections and we cannot allow ourselves to be derailed, those who lost must reposition themselves and stop calling for a nullification,” he said.

Following a district conference held in December, some parts of the Rehoboth East District challenged the outcome of the conference. A referendum was then held last month to vote on whether the results of the district conference should be nullified. Esau said most people voted in favour of the outcome of the December district level meeting.

“People cannot just complain for the sake of complaining, there must be proper grounds to do so,” said Esau who is also the fisheries minister.

Esau urged the concerned group to develop a culture of democracy and accept defeat.

“How can you boycott elections because you lost fairly? They must just continue and work with the leadership in the region,” Esau said.

The disgruntled group, which is led by former Rehoboth mayor Alfred Dax, claims in a press statement released last Friday that all the positions needed to fill the structures were not contested because they were all won “unanimously”.

“From the sections to the district, everything was done unanimously, where did you ever see this. Some of us have been in Swapo too long to be cheated around,” said Dax.

“We have about 8000 card-carrying members. How on earth can you have a referendum with 45 comrades and legalize it? What about the other 7 955 cadres, are they voiceless third-class members of the party?” asked Dax.

Esau however disputed this figure, saying that the number of those who took part in the referendum was more than the figure given by the concerned group.

Dax forwarded to New Era a series of text messages exchanged allegedly between him and Esau last month in which he [Dax] enquires how far the party is in attending to the group’s complaints about gross violation of the Swapo Party constitution and the alleged sidelining of Swapo members.

Esau responded: “Good morning Cde Dax, there are procedures to be followed whenever there are disputes or issues of uneasiness in any situation. When it comes to such situations, I also need to apply my mind very soberly. Neither one of the groups will influence me, I went through a lot of challenges of such nature, I have learned a lot in this very short space of time as an assigned leader to the region. Rehoboth is your problem and you are the only people who can solve your problem yourself. We will meet very soon. Thanks.”

In another message, Dax followed up and texted Esau: “We were supposed to receive our response in writing last week. So far nothing from your side.”

Esau in response SMS’d: “I am not accountable to you, you will receive your response from the relevant structures of the districts and region. I have taken note of your letter and it was attended to. The matter is closed from my side and respect your leadership. The matter is closed and unite under the banner of the party henceforth.”

Source : New Era