Community Better Represented Through Ward System [interview]

LUQMAN Cloete (TN) of The Namibian had an interview with Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) representative in the Keetmanshoop Municipality Willem Kotze (WK) to get his views about the coming national and presidential elections in November.

Kotze entered the politics fray during the era of racial segregation as a ward representative for the white community of Westdene suburb in Keetmanshoop but has shown no sign of wanting to quit politics soon.

How does the current municipal political system differ from that of the previous dispensation?

In the old dispensation we used the ward system to elect council representatives from suburbs that were divided along racial lines.

Yes, the system aocated racial segregation but under the ward system, the communities were better represented as their representatives were familiar with their problems as they lived among the community. The ward system improves accountability because a ward representative is accountable to the people in his or her ward. Today, council consists of members who carry the interests of their respective political parties. Because of that, your decision making in council is influenced by party politics. The perception today is that a position in the council is for prestige.

Your thoughts on why efforts to merge your party and another opposition party RP did not materialise?

I really don’t know, but I think there was a leadership problem. I think that the RP is white-dominated and orientated and had a problem with racial integration.

How do you think is RDP going to fare in the coming elections?

It is difficult to predict. But we will definitely fare better than we did in the last election. This time around we have changed our political campaign strategy to that of word of mouth campaign instead of making promises publicly to the electorate.

What is RDP offering that other political parties are not?

Our party embraces internal democracy in all areas such as leadership selection and policy making. We listen to each others’ views irrespective of your race, gender or age. This rarely happens in other parties.

Why do you think many white compatriots are not interested in politics?

Whites do not want to get involved in politics and many do not understand politics. The current system of how political office-bearers are chosen also pushed out those who might have had an interest in politics. The current system does not look at the expertise of a council member. Some whites may still harbour racist thoughts and do not want to share the platform with blacks, while others to not want to become public figures.

What are the things that bother you as a political office-bearer?

The misconception of how a municipality is administered. People must acquaint themselves with how a town is administered and stop mixing political and ethnic issues with council affairs. The community also has a social responsibility like the leaders, therefore they too must contribute by for example, looking at ways to attract visitors to the town.

Source : The Namibian