RDP power struggle intensifies

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Rally for Democracy and Progress's president Hidipo Hamutenya and RDP secretary general Jesaya Nyamu.

WINDHOEK – Some Rally for Progress (RDP) leaders will ignore a call by Peter Naholo that they not contest the party’s presidency and allow Hidipo Hamutenya to stand unopposed at the upcoming congress.

Naholo urged fellow RDP members to postpone their desires to unseat Hamutenya saying they should swallow their pride, postpone their ambitions and withdraw from contesting the RDP hot seat in the name of peace and unity.

But his appeal was rejected by other RDP seniors. Jeremia Nambinga a fellow RDP member said nobody has the right to ask anybody to step down. “People who step down are people who are not confident of themselves. Why did he (Naholo) decide to run in the first place – did he not know the name Hidipo Hamutenya is still in the voter’s mind?” questioned Nambinga. Naholo had first entered the race for the RDP presidency but later withdrew and called for the backing of Hamutenya by all party members.

Mike Kavekotora, the RDP director of elections and candidate for the secretary general position said: “I agree with Nambinga to a certain extent.”

Kavekotora said RDP members and supporters should not be confused by what is happening because one of the candidates is stepping down. “Do not be confused by the call of a candidate who himself decided to quit,” said Kavekotora.

Both Nambinga and Kavekotora were in unison in slamming Naholo for urging others to follow his lead and drop out of the running for RDP presidency.

“I do not think he (Naholo) is in a position to ask that – when he decided to run for president he did not engage other candidates to give his reasons for running. When he decided to get out of the race he did not give other candidates good reasons behind his stepping down,” said Kavekotora.

According to Kavekotora Naholo is not qualified to tell other candidates to step down as the other candidates are running because they know where they want to take the party. “Therefore he has no authority or reasons for asking them to step down because they know what they are doing,” said Kavekotora.

“Naholo got into the race and got the surprise of his life, after making perhaps one of the biggest decisions in his life a week ago. A week later he decided to throw in the towel. If he failed to do his homework he cannot ask other people to follow suit by also standing down,” added Kavekotora.

Phanuel Kaapama a political commentator and lecturer at the University of Namibia said such happenings are part and parcel of the political game.

“This is not unexpected,” said Kaapama. But Kaapama stressed if  such issues are not handled with care they would reflect negatively on the party’s image in the long run.

“I hope RDP leaders refrain from name calling. There are two big challenges – the first is to get elected, the second is to win over those that did not vote for you,” added Kaapama.

“If it turns to a process where leaders in the RDP openly tarnish each other the RDP leaders will dent the public’s confidence in the party. You should demonstrate that you can manage your own party before the public can entrust you with the country’s affairs,” said Kaapama.

He said that failure to manage the party’s affairs appropriately would result in punishment by the voters at the polls.

”These are exercises to demonstrate to the public at large that you (RDP) can manage your affairs and therefore the country. Voters are nomadic political animals,” added Kaapama.

By John Travolter Matali

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