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Bezuidenhoudt urges HH to step down

2015-01-09  Mathias Haufiku

Bezuidenhoudt urges HH to step down
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By Mathias Haufiku WINDHOEK- In an unprecedented move, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) vice-president Steve Bezuidenhoudt has called on veteran party leader Hidipo Hamutenya to step down in order to revive the party. Bezuidenhoudt said he was not interested in being elevated to the position, but said an energetic person should be identified to steer the party back to its former glory. The RDP performed dismally in last year’s general election and lost its official opposition to status to McHenry Venaani’s DTA. The party lost five of its eight seats in the National Assembly, after targeting at least 25 seats in the upper house of parliament. Hamutenya, 75, was re-elected as party president at a congress held last year, winning the mandate to lead the party for five more years. He will be 80 years old when his current term expires. There have been muffled calls within RDP for Hamutenya to step down, but it was not until yesterday that his number two, Bezuidenhoudt, decided to tell him to step aside. The RDP’s second-in-command is adamant that the prospects of the party are bleak with Hamutenya at the helm. “Apart from being afraid to publicly call for the president’s resignation, many people in the party concur with my calls that the president [Hamutenya] should step aside so that someone else younger can come in with new ideas to salvage the party,” said Bezuidenhoudt. Efforts to get comment from Hamutenya were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered. Bezuidenhoudt said the party’s central committee would meet next month where issues related to rejuvenating the party might come up. “If he [Hamutenya] does not step aside voluntarily then the CC will be forced to make a resolution for an extraordinary congress to be convened so that the people can decide whom they want in charge.” RDP’s performance was so bad that it cost serving MPs such as Agnes Limbo, Heiko Lucks, Peter Naholo, Kandy Nehova and Anton von Wietersheim their seats in the National Assembly. “Things need to be done the right way in any organisation if the system is to be effective, but what he is doing is basically creating a make-believe situation that all is well in the party,” charged Bezuidenhoudt who, together with party secretary-general Mike Kavekotora, will accompany Hamutenya as RDP’s representatives in the National Assembly. Bezuidenhoudt also hinted that he is ready to risk his position in the party by publicly calling for Hamutenya to step down. “It’s either the party finds me guilty for misbehaving, or my good friend takes a personal decision in the interest of the party and steps down,” said an unapologetic Bezuidenhoudt. Before fending off pressure from an internal group to unseat him at the party congress last year, Hamutenya told those calling for his resignation that he was the only RDP member who could take on Swapo’s Hage Geingob in the November 2014 general elections. But with Geingob getting 87 percent of the presidential election, there was clearly no contest between him and Hamutenya – or indeed anybody else who bothered participating in that race. Instead, Hamutenya’s closest rival was new kid on the block Venaani the DTA leader who proved to be too strong for the RDP president.
2015-01-09  Mathias Haufiku

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