Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Jeremiah Nambinga said his party would forever be grateful to Hidipo Hamutenya for opening their eyes to the ruling party’s “rigging elections”.
Nambinga thus appealed to Hamutenya to urge Swapo to stop tampering with election results – now that he’s returned to the party he for years accused of altering genuine election results in its favour.
This was Nambinga’s tongue-in-cheek parting shot at his predecessor Hamutenya, who defected to Swapo last week after initially dumping the party in 2007.
Hamutenya was instrumental in establishing RDP the same year – a move he said was fuelled by the lies spread about him in Swapo around that time.
He was president of the RDP until a section of the party’s supporters pushed for him to step down following poor electoral results last year, which they blamed on his “weak leadership”.
Nambinga told the media on Friday that returning to Swapo would vindicate former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, who said in 2008 that Swapo members who joined RDP were traitors, like Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.
“If I resign from RDP and rejoin Swapo it will be proof that what Pohamba said at the time was right. How can I leave the people whom I convinced that something is wrong in Swapo, but then I end up going back to Swapo; that will never happen,” Nambinga, who was also rumoured to harbour defection ambitions last week, said.
However, Nambinga said the RDP would not in any way be affected by the departure of Hamutenya.
“Comrade Hidipo’s departure will not be the end of RDP.”
“We are grateful to him because he opened our eyes when he informed us that Swapo rigs elections. We hope that now that he has returned to Swapo he will advise Swapo to stop rigging elections,” said Nambinga.
In 2009, Swapo filed a lawsuit against Hamutenya for his claims that the ruling party had rigged elections for years.
Nambinga also said the RDP was not disappointed by Hamutenya’s departure.
“Everyone has the right to join or go as they wish, therefore we respect him because it is his right.”
He added “We are also grateful to him for having assisted us to form the RDP, a party that some of us are determined to lead until the objectives which we have set for ourselves are achieved.”
Nambinga vowed never to return to Swapo “because the party remains to some of us as it was in 2007, or worse”.