Windhoek-The former deputy minister of prisons and correctional services, Michaela Hübschle, yesterday rejoined her comrades in the ruling Swapo Party, after resigning from the former official opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).
She follows in the steps of the former president of RDP, late Hidipo Hamutenya, and many other high-profile figures who have lately ditched RDP that emerged after the acrimonious events leading up to Swapo’s extraordinary elective congress of 2004. The party has been on a steady decline since the 2009 national elections. Internal squabbles that saw Hamutenya pushed to the brink of collapse until his subsequent resignation only weakened the party further. After the 2014 general election, RDP lost its official opposition status to the DTA.
Though some RDP members have ditched the party quietly, Hübschle was officially welcomed at Swapo headquarters yesterday by, amongst others, secretary of the women’s council Eunice Iipinge.
“Sometime we have to take bold steps, swallow our pride and do what we think is right,” Hübschle said.
She told New Era that she had informed RDP president Jeremiah Nambinga of her decision to quit and denied she was looking for greener pastures or positions. “I am not looking for positions, or to be buried at the Heroes Acre. I left RDP for a reason, but I’m not going to spill any beans. I’m not that kind,” she said.
Earlier, the Otjiwarongo-born politician wrote on her Facebook page: “Ten years ago Hidipo Hamutenya, Jesaya Nyamu, I and others decided to leave the [Swapo Party] due to what we perceived as undemocratic practices in the party. Our vision was to have a strong alternative to the ruling party for the sake of democracy in Namibia – therefore the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) was established.
“We had dreams, we realised some of them, others not. But more importantly, under the leadership of President Hage Geingob our party, Swapo, was returned to its former glory. There was no longer any reason for us to remain outside our political home.”
Founding president Sam Nujoma appointed Michaela Hübschle as deputy minister of prisons and correctional services in 1995 and she served in that position until 2000.
In 2001 she started a non-profit that helps former prisoners re-integrate into society.
“Our legacy, and mine in particular, is in Swapo. This is where I cut my political teeth and this is where I will make my unstinting contribution,” she said.
“Having been a dedicated member of the Swapo family for several decades and still feeling too passionate to quit politics for good, coming home is only the right thing for me to do.
“Our work is cut out for us. We brought about political freedom, but a long journey lies ahead to bring about a more equal and just society and I will fight tirelessly to achieve this.”
Hübschle, the widow of the revered late veterinarian, Otto Hübschle, also had kind words for RDP. “If they focus more and develop good leadership for the party, they can be a very good opposition party for Namibia.”