Despite an avalanche of defections of senior party figures from its ranks over the past few months, the leadership of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) believes the party’s survival depends on the electorate and not those abandoning the seemingly sinking ship.
About 10 members of the party’s executive defected to the ruling party in recent weeks. The mass exodus from the RDP was started by its founder, Hidipo Hamutenya, who has lately made peace with his former comrades and rejoined Swapo.
“The question is: did they ever leave their former party?” the RDP’s vice president Steve Bezuidenhoudt wanted to know when asked about the ongoing spate of desertions by the party’s top guns.
There are also claims that some of those who departed are not in total support of RDP president Jeremiah Nambinga’s leadership style. “If that is the case, then I have no idea about it,” Bezuidenhoudt said.
Following Ellen Musialela’s defection to Swapo this week, Bezuidenhoudt said her move comes as no surprise to the party. “Her defection was predicted by someone earlier this year and when she was confronted she vehemently denied a move back to Swapo. But like I always tell the executive, it is much better having 100 committed soldiers than 1 000 non-committed ones,” he said.
Bezuidenhoudt said he is not too worried about the ongoing defections. “It is just a temporary setback… Despite the perceived senior party figures leaving, I know that if the party is meant to live long it will, and if not then it won’t, but that is all in the hands of the electorate,” he said.
He also questioned the electorate’s decision to give the ruling party the mandate to continue governing the affairs of the country. “The decision to vote for a certain party is clearly based on loyalty and not on facts, because it does not make sense if I am struggling to get a house, that I still vote for the people who failed to give me a house,” he said.
The RDP did not win a single seat during the regional council elections last Friday, while in the local authority election they managed to garner 11 seats.