RP Councillors Set to Abandon Party

The Republican Party (RP) members who became local authority councillors on the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) ticket say they will ditch their RP membership for the RDP following the public announcement that the RP and RDP would no longer merge. RP member Tartisius Gaeseb of the Windhoek City Council and Willem Kooper of the Aranos Village Council say they will not be giving up their seats in the councils because of the failed merger, but will continue serving on the two councils as RDP members.

“I will remain a RDP member until we realize the objective we agreed upon when a merger agreement was signed. I came to RDP because of the planned merger – since I am a principled politician I will stay,” said Gaeseb.

Kooper also said he would stay on as RDP member. “How can I go back to the RP, I do not even know why the party is being restructured. I am now an RDP member. I am not willing to go back. So we must now go and restructure from scratch, no ways! There were things we agreed upon at the start, therefore I will stay as on a RDP member,” said Kooper.

The RP and RDP had agreed to merge in 2009, a process that was to see RP members joining RDP and the dissolution of the RP. Gaeseb and Kooper became local authority councillors after taking up RDP membership as per the 2009 agreement. The merger did not materialise and two weeks ago the parties announced that the agreement had collapsed. RP president Henk Mudge last month announced that the RP would not contest the presidential elections but would support the Swapo presidential candidate, Dr Hage Geingob.

RDP secretary general Mike Kavekotora held a press briefing last week accusing Mudge of reneging on the planned merger without notifying the stakeholders. “Mudge did not consult the leadership of RDP, if there were problems in the implementation phase we could have dealt with them so that we could move on, but instead of consulting us he ran to the media,” said Kavekotora.

Gaeseb unsuccessfully contested the party’s vice-president position in the RP’s last elective congress. “I was part of the unification process until the two presidents signed the agreement. I received a membership card that I carry everyday so that we become members as per the agreement,” Gaeseb said, adding that the merger would have been a way to enhance, strengthen and deepen democracy in the country.

Kavekotora said it would be unrealistic and insensitive for Mudge to expect former RP members who moved to the RDP to support Mudge’s presidential candidate. “The people who joined RDP three years ago are today expected by Mudge to support a Swapo Party candidate as if their own political party does not have competent leaders,” charged Kavekotora.

“Perhaps Mudge must recruit new members from other parties or start campaigning. We would like to appeal to members who came from the RP to remain with RDP,” said Kavekotora. “When the ruling party is faced with a g and united opposition, it will not relent in its mandate of service delivery,” he said.

Source : New Era