RDP MPs reflect on infighting

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WINDHOEK – Despite talk that life is gradually getting back to normal in the faction-scarred Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), outgoing RDP parliamentarians remain worried by the situation surrounding Hidipo Hamutenya’s retirement U-turn and have called on those handling the situation to manage it in an orderly manner.

The party has been rocked by controversies lately following its founding president Hidipo Hamutenya’s announcement last month that he is retiring, just to rescind his decision a day before he was supposed to step down claiming he was arm-twisted into retiring against his wishes by a faction comprising three senior RDP leaders.

The RDP can now be construed to have two presidents, seeing that Steve Bezuidenhoudt is acting president while Hamutenya, in his mind, is still “president”, after he dramatically reversed his earlier decision to quit.

Hamutenya’s reluctance to keep his promise to retire has since created a situation where there are two centres of power in the party – one led by the group comprising acting president Steve Bezuidenhoudt, secretary general Mike Kavekotora and Agnes Limbo and the other led by Hamutenya.

New Era last weekend spoke to some of the party’s outgoing parliamentarians to determine what they make of the situation, which according to political experts, could drag the party into the political wilderness if it is not managed well.

Anton von Wietersheim last weekend expressed concern about the situation but supported the process of replacing Hamutenya as directed by the party’s central committee.

“It is a worrying situation but I just feel that the decision taken by the CC should be implemented. Unfortunately, in situations like this people always have different opinions but it is my hope that people come to the same conclusion,” he said.

Von Wietersheim is hopeful the issues surrounding the fight for presidency will be put to bed by the May convention where Hamutenya’s successor will be elected.

“We should sort out all the issue, reorganize and consolidate to prepare for the upcoming elections,” he said.

His counterpart, Heiko Lucks was more conservative about the situation by saying: “Any process that involves change always has challenges.

“It really depends on how you look at the situation, there should not be anything to worry about because the president retired and once the process of finding a successor is complete everything should be fine. The process must just be managed properly and then we move the party forward from there.”

Hamutenya announced his retirement last month only to make a U-turn two weeks later noting that he was “forced” out of the party. He blamed factions within the party that “forcefully” and apparently coerced him to leave his position.

RDP made it clear it will not accept Hamutenya’s U-turn on his earlier decision to retire as the party president and that it [National Executive Committee] lives by the decision of the Central Committee meeting that the vice-president, secretary general and deputy secretary general will be the three to represent the RDP in the 6th National Assembly.

New Era could not get hold of Jesaya Nyamu, Peter Naholo and Kandy Nehova as their mobile phones were perpetually off.
Bezuidenhoudt, Kavekotora and Limbo will represent RDP in the next parliament.

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