United People’s Movement accused of vote buying

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WINDHOEK – With the 2014 presidential and national elections gearing up, allegations of buying votes have been leveled against the United People’s Movement (UPM) who have allegedly been going around Rehoboth promising residents to join the party in return for land.

UPM formerly known as the Rehoboth Democratic Movement (RDM) has also been accused of illegally collecting money from desperate residents who impatiently want to own houses.

In an exclusive interview with New Era yesterday, Rehoboth West Constituency Councillor, Theo Diergaardt, who is also the Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement revealed there are such fraud tendencies from opposition political parties particularly the UMP.

He said UMP members go around telling residents to pay some cash to acquire land.

“As a leader, I am not happy. There are some political parties running around Rehoboth inviting people to pay N$150 and then promise them that they will get erven,” the deputy minister charged.

However, UPM chairperson Jan van Wyk refuted the allegations saying there is no such  thing.

“There is no such a thing. We are not charging them N$150 nor promising people erven. It is not true. We are only busy identifying our members who need houses but we are not charging them any money. Our people (members) are the ones who don’t have land and they are on the street,” he said.

He said their membership is free of charge and one can even register online through their website.

The councillor cautioned Rehoboth residents about the “buying of votes through empty promises”, adding that only legitimate institutions such as the Rehoboth Town Council with the blessing of the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development through the Local Authority Act that can provide erven.

“So people must stop running to these opposition political parties and rather approach the town council on matters relating to erven. These parties are desperate for votes. They go around with forms for people to get membership cards while promising them erven,” Diergaardt claimed.

When asked how many members does UPM has, Van Wyk said there are over 20 000.

“We are a registered party with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and we have two seats on the local authority both in Rehoboth and Okahandja,” he noted.

UPM is based in Rehoboth and it was formed in March 2010.

It is headed by Willem Bismark van Wyk (president) and former leading Democratic Turnhalle Alliance member Piet Junius (vice-president). The party changed its name in August 2010 to UPM. The party officially registered with the Electoral Commission in July 2010 and contested the November 2010 local and regional elections, where it won two seats in the Rehoboth local council and one seat on the Okahandja council.

 

By Albertina Nakale

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