By Anna Shilongo WINDHOEK Following media reports about the alleged defection to the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) of the family of Sylnanus Vatuva, the former governor of the Oshana Region, the family says the reports are not true. A family member says the alleged defections are rumours and speculation, but the family is still with Swapo Party. "We are not members of the RDP, neither did we associate ourselves with the RDP meetings," said one of the former governor's daughters Kandeshi Vatuva-Shipepe. Vatuva-Shipepe, who works as Managing Director of Gems, says since the speculative media reports, her family has endured intimidation and criticism. She called on the RDP to be specific and to name the family members that joined the party instead of linking the entire Vatuva family to the newly formed opposition party. "My parents never attended any RDP meeting, and they will never join the RDP. They have always been committed members of Swapo Party. The RDP shouldn't use our family name to attract more people to their party if that is their strategy," she said. "We would like to distance ourselves from the rumour, which is circulating around. We are not RDP members, we don't even attend their meetings. The day they held their meeting at Omungwelume, none of us from our family attended the rally," she stressed. Vatuva-Shipepe said her father was not even in the area on the day on which the rally was held. She said as a businesswoman the rumour has tarnished and affected her family's name and business. "People don't want to be associated with the RDP. My sister is also criticised at (the) workplace, being called names and so on. There were circulars going around at her work that directors of institutions should not be involved in politics, and that circular started shortly after the rumour which linked our family to the RDP," she said. She called on the RDP to be honest instead of linking people who are not part of the new party that is led by former ministers Jesaya Nyamu and Hidipo Hamutenya. "You should be specific with what you say. If there are some extended families that joined the party, why don't you mention their names instead of linking them to my father's name," she told New Era. "After all, it is their democratic right to join a party of their choice, as long as you don't involve or link people who are not for that specific party. "Because of this, we are intimidated in public and my parents are called all sorts of names in the community," she said. "When people join their parties of choice, they join individually, not as a family. Why is our family being linked to the RDP as a whole?" asked Vatuva-Shipepe. She called on Namibians to refrain from tribalism and rather unite as one nation. "We don't want the situation of Kenya to come into Namibia, people should stop discriminating against one another," stressed Shipepe. She said people tend to discriminate mostly against people from the Ohangwena Region, a practice which she strongly believes needs to stop.
2008-01-30 00:00:00 10 years ago