EENHANA – Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Hidipo Hamutenya has called on the youth of Namibia not to be frightened by acts of political intimidation and to prepare to register and head to the polls en masse come 2014.
He urged party members, especially young people and first time voters to be ready to exercise their democratic rights by ensuring that they register for next year’s general elections. Speaking during a rally on Saturday at Eenhana to celebrate his re-election during the party’s congress last month, Hamutenya said the party is concerned that young people are wary of voting and do not even want to register as voters, because they fear intimidation and vote buying by other political parties.
He said the levels of bullying and vote buying using drought relief in constituencies in the Ohangwena Region deter young people from exercising their right to vote, and added that this should stop since Namibia is a democratic state and everyone has the right to join and vote for any political party of their choice. He urged all RDP members to unite and remove the ruling Swapo Party from being the dominant party at both the regional and national levels. “As we are [headed] towards the 2014 general elections, we are urging and begging all RDP members who have joined this official opposition party to come and vote in their dozens for us to win the elections. Following the ongoing intimidations by the Swapo Party and vote buying using drought relief, l want to assure you that Namibians are free and should have access to all resources regardless of colour and race,” he urged.
He also took the occasion to lambast the ruling party for neglecting the children of the liberation struggle. “Our youths are hungry for change and if voted into power, our youths will not be discriminated against by classifying them as ‘struggle kids’, ‘born frees’ or ‘those who were born in the liberation struggle’ and this must be stopped forthwith,” he said.
Hamutenya said as the official opposition the RDP is proud of its successes and deliberations in parliament so far. “It is us, as RDP, who have challenged the government to let the Grade 10 learners repeat if they fail. Swapo had dumped them, but we fought for that change in parliament. Again, it is us who have challenged the Swapo ruling party to increase the allowances for both war veterans and pensioners. If voted into power, we shall recognize those ‘struggle kids’ and they will benefit from our government,” he said. He further challenged the government to make sure that all resources are shared equally and said poverty has killed many families in Namibia, especially during the prevailing drought. “We can agree that there is mismanagement of resources in this country and we urge them to pass the buck to us. As RDP, we will not seek excuses and offer apologies or justifications, hunger and malnutrition has killed families,” he asserted. The RDP also blames the ruling party government for splashing N$5.8 million on a trip by its youth wing (SPYL) to Ecuador and demands that its youth league members be included in the trip to Ecuador, which is scheduled for December 5-14. The political rally at Eenhana was attended by some senior party members who were recently elected to the party’s Central Committee, including the Secretary for Information and Publicity, Jeremia Nambinga and the Secretary for International Relations Kandy Nehova among others.
By Clemence Tashaya