By Kuvee Kangueehi Keetmanshoop Former secretary general of the Congress of Democrats (CoD) Kalla Gertze has finally admitted that there is a serious leadership crisis in the top structures of the party. Tabling the secretary general’s report at the opening of the CoD Extraordinary Congress at Keetmanshoop on Friday morning, Gertze said interpersonal squabbles in the top ranks of the party were no longer rumours but reality. He warned that the squabbles ran the risk of filtering through to the unsuspecting membership and public. “This extraordinary congress should … elect a new leadership and therewith demonstrate the existence and utilization of mechanisms and principles of democracy through which change and discipline can be restored.” Gertze also gave an account of the state of the party and said when he joined the CoD leadership in August 2004, he realized how quickly things had worsened for the party since the last Harmony Committee report in 2003. He revealed that the party had virtually gone down to its knees and all regional offices including the head office had to be closed down – not only because of a lack of funds but also due to overdue bank overdrafts and debts totalling N$2 million. He noted that at takeover the administration of the party remained with files and an empty office without the necessary human, financial and material resources. “The CoD was without a telephone, without money, without water and no human resources.” The delay in political party funding from government, he said, made the situation difficult and companies such as Telecom, which the CoD owed N$80 000, were not willing to offer services unless the bill was paid. “We were forced to sell off some of the dilapidated party vehicles to rather settle the HP burdens and also to make payments to some creditors.” Gertze gave an account of the assets of the party and said they are currently renting an office in Windhoek West but had suffered a burglary and all the five office computers were stolen. The former SG noted that the vehicle fleet of the party was in a poor state, and three cars had broken down in the various regions while others had to be sold. He said one pick-up truck was driven without permission by a CoD former youth leader to Ovitoto and developed a mechanical problem and was stripped. Another car was abandoned in Sesfontein after the 2004 elections and partly stripped. Gertze diagnosed that the party suffers a serious structural deficiency and submitted a structural reform option for congress approval. He noted that the National Executive Committee (NEC) had experienced a continuous problem of not having a quorum, while the National Working Committee (NWC), which is the implementing body, is largely saturated by indecision and lack of adherence to its own NEC or congress decisions. He said the body is marked by poor leadership when in session and often spends time on trivial matters or always gets stuck at agenda point number one, spending hours going around in circles. He noted that the office of the CoD president, ever since the inception of the CoD, remained a one-man show, with no office assistants, no secretaries. “In cases where attempts were made to staff this office, resignations plagued this office and a lack of team spirit is the cause of it.” He added that despite the recommendations of the Harmony Report of 2003 that the vice-president and national chairperson be part of the office, nothing has been done. Some members of the top leadership did not agree with the entire report from the secretary general and felt that the report should have been prepared by the NWC and not the SG.
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