24 Nov 2010 - Story by Helvy Shaanika
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OSHAKATI ' A convoy mostly from the Ohangwena, Oshana and Oshikoto regions and some few vehicles from the Omusati Region; a pavilion filled to capacity with cheering supporters and security guards dressed in party colours. All this describes the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) mega rally at Oshakati Independence Stadium on Saturday.
A few minutes after 16h00, the party's presidential convoy, consisting of a Toyota bakkie and two white traffic police vehicles arrive at the stadium. The crowd becomes hysterical. They cheer and sing as Hidipo Hamutenya, the RDP President, finally disembarks from one of the snow-white corollas.
Throughout the programme, supporters continue to cheer and speakers have to pause in order to allow the crowd to sing and cheer. From time to time supporters on the pavilion go against the DJ to sing their own songs that are also cut short, as they cannot compete with the loud speakers.
At one point, supporters sing a Happy Birthday to RDP, as the party marks its third anniversary. The songs and cheers go on until the moment HH (as the supporters refer to Hamutenya) finally takes the stage to address them. However, while the president is talking, some of the supporters, mostly the youth, start to walk away. Vacant spaces start to appear on the pavilion.
'Last year, when we were here, you came in numbers. Today again you came in impressive numbers,' Hamutenya applauds his supporters.
During his speech, Hamutenya calls out his party's candidates for the forthcoming regional and local authority elections.
'Those are the people that you should trust. They were not hand-picked from one region. They are from all the corners of this country,' says Hamutenya, referring to RDP candidates from Ohan-gwena, Oshana, Omusati and Oshikoto.
In his speech, Hamutenya attacks the Swapo Party, stating that the ruling party has failed to improve the country's health services, education, unemployment and poverty.
According to Hamutenya, the Swapo government is committing a crime against humanity by not addressing the problem of unemployment in the country. He says unemployment is the mother of poverty and the source of most evils ' crime included.
Hamutenya adds that the Swapo-led government has failed to show the political will to tackle corruption in the country.
He says Namibia faces a number of problems that can only be addressed by an RDP-led government.
Hamutenya tells his party's supporters that RDP does not need to fire any bullet for them to take over from the Swapo government and bring change.
'We will have the opportunity in two weeks' time. We are going to vote the incompetent Swapo government out of power,' he says.
He defends the merging of the RDP and Republican Party (RP) saying the RDP has a historic and constitutional responsibility to unite all people irrespective of their colour and ethnic backgrounds. At the end of it all, the crowd disperses peacefully.