23 Nov 2010 - Story by Catherine Sasman
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LÃDERITZ ' Only about 50 people got together at the Benguela Hall in the LÃ¼deritz suburb of Nautilus for the first election meeting of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) on Saturday, reportedly because of victimisation and intimidation.
Notwithstanding, party members claimed that the party has made some inroads in a town where the Swapo Party has dominated for more than a decade.
'The situation in the town has improved in favour of the RDP,' said the party's regional coordinator, John Nghishekwa, but Secretary-General of the party, Jesaya Nyamu contended that the town remained in the 'grip' of the Swapo Party, a dominance which he said should be broken.
Nyamu, who has not been to LÃ¼deritz in seven years and is now travelling in the Karas Region to garner support for the party, said the people of the town live in 'misery', and that the shanty town Area 7 'violates the principles of human beings'.
'The citizens live under conditions that are intolerable. If politicians are not careful, they will be charged for crimes committed against humanity,' he charged.
He said while the country is rich in natural resources, the Swapo Party-led government has been 'incapable or unwilling to manage resources and share the proceeds with the rest of the population'.
'The question is, will it learn to share the proceeds; will the people living next to the resources have access to it?' asked Nyamu, adding: 'The Swapo-led government does not plan how people can have direct access to resources.'
Nghishekwa said the Swapo Party is using its liberating credentials as a 'ticket to keep people in poverty'.
'Unemployment is on the increase but Swapo says don't worry because they have liberated the country,' said Nghishekwa.
He further claimed that most people in senior positions in the Swapo Party-led government 'were not in the liberation struggle'.
'Most of the top leaders in the RDP are the ones who participated physically in the liberation movement but they are not recognised,' claimed Nghishekwa.
RDP regional council candidate for LÃ¼deritz, Phyllicia Hercules, said the party's candidates' main concern is the upliftment of the people of the town, which she said 'has not been done for the past 20 years'.
Hercules said conditions at the town have not changed since the attainment of independence.
'We cannot do anything yet because we are not in the leadership yet; we must be voted in to make changes,' said Hercules.
She said if the party were to start addressing the 'bread and butter' issues, this would escalate into a direct criticism 'of what the Government fails to do'.
If elected, she said, she would focus on bringing about a 'corrupt-free' and transparent regional office, effective and efficient regional administration, work towards alleviation and reduction of district unemployment and poverty particularly among the youth and school leavers, and bring about meaningful regional economic development in consultation with the town's community.
'I strongly believe that there can be no meaningful development in our district unless the regional councillor, the LÃ¼deritz Town Council and the Aus and LÃ¼deritz communities are all in a strong partnership and committed to one common goal,' said Hercules.
The other RDP candidates for the LÃ¼deritz local authority election are Jordan Namhindi, Anna Bostander, Reginald Hercules, Merle Pickering, Malakia Shikwambi, Mieta Murtz, and Elizabeth Harris.