New Party Offers Olive Branch to ‘Minorities’

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By Kuvee Kangueehi

Windhoek

The newly launched Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN) is expected to hold its first public rally at Maltahohe in the Hardap Region on July 19.

The party was launched last week Friday at Keetmanshoop with a press conference, which was addressed by its interim president, Solomon Dawid Isaacs.

Speaking to New Era yesterday, an executive member of DPN, Reverend Daniel Schmidt, said the party would hold its first public meeting on Saturday, July 19 at Maltahohe and at Mariental the following day.

Schmidt said the party decided to hold its first meeting at Maltahohe because that is where the party was formed.

At the press conference last Friday, Isaacs said the political party was founded in order to address the plight of minority groups in some parts of the country.

Isaacs said the pace of positive change after independence is not visible and this is due to insufficient political attention.

He noted that the areas of concern are education, agriculture, labour, health, crime, unemployment and socio-economic development.

“The DPN stands for equal distribution of wealth and opportunities for all Namibians as well as redistribution of land or regaining ancestral lands.”

There is generally a strong perception in the south that people from these regions are neglected and do not get a fair share of the resources that come from the region.

The perception is that the people are marginalised and have little or no access to diamond concessions, fishing quotas, resettlement farms, mineral rights and employment opportunities.

Although it is a new party and almost premature to gauge its impact on Namibian politics, early indications are that its effect will be minimal.

Most of the interim leadership are unknown political personalities except for its interim president, Isaacs, who as a Swanu member went into exile in the 1960s and lived in Botswana for over a decade.

Isaacs returned in 1978 under the DTA amnesty and became a member of the National Patriotic Front (NPF) and served the interim government in various positions, mainly based in the Karas Region.

DPN is the third party to be formed in the last 10 months, after the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) and All Peoples Party (APP).

The formation of the new party is not in the interest of the smaller parties, as it will split the votes more.

Congress of Democrats (CoD) president, Ben Ulenga, welcomed the new party and said it will create greater competition within the political parties, which is good for democracy.

Ulenga said he has nothing to fear because his party is well established and has a track record, compared to DPN.

He added that the new party brings a new dimension to the political landscape in the south and it will be interesting to note new developments in the run-up to the elections next year.

The Swapo Party is currently the dominant party in the Karas Region. It controls all the five constituencies in the region and appears to be well entrenched.

Some people attribute its dominance to the army bases at Keetmanshoop and Karasburg and the fact that a number of people from the central northern regions work at mines and in the fishing industry in the region.

The Swapo Party secretary for information and mobilisation, Jerry Ekandjo, said everybody has the right – according to Namibia’s constitution – to form a new political party and the ruling party is not threatened at all by the new party.

“Those people forming the new party are not Swapo members. We are not concerned because Swapo will rule forever and you know it yourself.”

The Vision
– The DPN is of the opinion that the ever-changing political climate of Namibia and ever-increasing number of political
parties is not necessarily because of the lack of political vision, but due to lack of commitment;
– Satisfactory performance on the part of political elite;
– There is a great need for tolerance;
– The survival strategy for minority groups;
– Constructive opportunities to develop peaceful co-existence based on mutual respect;
– The DPN looks forward for accommodation of minority groups;
– Access to ownership and use of resource(s);
– Unity in diversity is possible to have a peaceful and vibrant society;
– The Namibian Government and the President can bring about the much-needed harmony, but they are turning a blind
eye on these critical issues.

The mission of the DPN is:
– To advocate and claim the rights of fellow citizens.
– The DPN will mobilise the voters in central and southern Namibia to vote for the party, which will represent their
interests at different levels of government.
– The DPN will work as a watchdog and as a voice of our forgotten society.
– The DPN will always remind those in charge to adhere to their responsibilities (service delivery).
– The DPN will petition against any law which affect(s) any rights of the voter communities.
– The DPN will fight for equal distribution of land, or otherwise claim ancestral lands.
– The DPN will demand equal economic development and educational opportunities.

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