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DTA brands RDP as ‘useless’

2014-12-12  Mathias Haufiku

DTA brands RDP as ‘useless’
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By Mathias Haufiku WINDHOEK – The DTA yesterday accused the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) of being a useless party that is crying foul and blaming everyone but itself for its dismal performance in the just-ended general elections. The RDP drew the DTA’s wrath after its (RDP) president Hidipo Hamutenya accused the DTA of accepting funding from the ruling Swapo Party to win official opposition status. Hamutenya made the allegations in the weekly Confidenté newspaper yesterday. Hamutenya’s deputy, the RDP vice-president Steve Bezuidenhoudt, said his president’s remarks were reckless and could land the dislodged former official opposition in legal problems if Swapo or the DTA were to take the matter to court. The DTA came second in the elections after Swapo when it obtained five of the 96 seats in the National Assembly, while RDP came in at third place with three seats. Before the elections, DTA had two seats in parliament, while RDP had eight. Parties have over the years fought tooth and nail to be second in command of the National Assembly –mainly due to the monetary benefits that come with being the official opposition. Just when Namibians thought political parties are busy working hard to get rid of the fragmentation amongst the country’s opposition, the latest brawl seems to suggest the exact opposite. DTA yesterday made public that their entire election campaign budget was just over N$3 million. The party however refused to clearly explain its funding agents, claiming that it cannot openly disclose its financial information without approval from its executive committee. Sandwiched by the party’s finance secretary Nico Smit and national chairperson Jennifer van den Heever, DTA secretary general Vincent Kanyetu yesterday held a hastily convened press conference to deny claims by Hamutenya that Swapo funded the DTA’s campaign to topple the RDP. Kanyetu labelled RDP as a “useless” party that failed to make any meaningful impact during its campaigns. “We ran a better campaign with the little resources we had compared to theirs. Their campaign was weak and it’s evident by the number of votes they got,” Kanyetu said. “We acquired several properties around the city over the years. For the campaign we even took out loans against those properties to fund our campaign. So HH [Hidipo Hamutenya] must stop looking for excuses as to why his party failed and move on,” a clearly irate Kanyetu said. Kanyetu also accused Hamutenya of “failing to make use of the platform afforded to him to address the issues at the heart of the socio-economic development of Namibian people and neither has he made any effort to ensure transparent and accountable governance”. Hamutenya was yesterday quoted by Confidenté as saying: “I know that these smaller parties including the DTA didn’t do well in the regions on their own. They got media coverage and monetary support from Swapo.” New Era tried to get hold of Hamutenya yesterday but his mobile phone went unanswered, but vice-president Bezuidenhoudt was clearly not impressed with his superior’s utterances indicating that Hamutenya placed the party at risk if he fails to present concrete proof that can confirm that Swapo indeed funded the DTA. “It is cheap to say things, but if Swapo decides to take this matter to court, does he have the necessary proof to back up what he said and how will he know how much money of the DTA came from Swapo?” asked a worried Bezuidenhoudt. Added Bezuidenhoudt: “In all other democracies you have two chances and if you do badly you have to step aside and make way for someone else more energetic, but we are in Africa, so it should not come as a surprise that people want to cling on to power.”
2014-12-12  Mathias Haufiku

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