ONGWEDIVA – The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), once tipped to unseat Swapo after orchestrating mass resignations in the ruling party, is enduring the same fate after several of its members followed party president Jeremiah Nambinga in quitting the party.
Formed in 2007 by disgruntled former Swapo members who fought in the corner of Hidipo Hamutenya during the Swapo extraordinary congress of 2004, the party was seen by some as a genuine contender for power.
But internal power struggles have brought the party to its knees, having lost its status as the official opposition to McHenry Venaani’s Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) in the 2014 election.
Having won eight seats in the National Assembly in the 2009 general election, the party could only gain three seats after the next general election in 2014.
With Hamutenya re-joining Swapo after he was unceremoniously removed as president, RDP has been on a downward spiral since then.
With Nambinga announcing his resignation late last week, several of his supporters in the Ohangwena Region, where he hails from, have also quit the troubled party.
Amongst those who have called it quits officially are RDP’s Ohangwena regional secretary Timo Shikongo and Tuhafeni Nghiwanapo, who served as the secretary for information and publicity and district secretary for Omulonga Constituency.
Also quitting RDP was Vilho Shimooshili, who served as both the party’s mobiliser and local authority representative at the Helao Nafidi Town Council.
Others include district and branch secretaries.
Shikongo, through whose office the resignations were tendered, confirmed that six people have resigned.
“But there are many others who have resigned verbally and we are waiting for their resignation letters so that I can forward them to the head office,” Shikongo told New Era.
Shikongo, who has been with the party since its inception 11 years ago said RDP has lost the plot for which it was formed – to conquer power from the ruling party.
Shimooshili also confirmed his resignation as the party’s mobiliser and the party’s local authority councillor at Helao Nafidi.
“There is nothing left of me in RDP.”
In his resignation letter, Shimooshili cites reasons of ‘childish behaviour’ from the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) who last year passed a vote of no confidence in Nambinga, who had to approach the courts to hang onto his position.
“With this childish behaviour I have realised that it will not take the party forward; therefore I have taken a decision to leave the party in the hands of those who are hungry for positions,” Shimooshili said.
Nambinga who until last week was RDP’s president rubbished claims that he quit RDP to set up a new party.
Talk is rife in Ohangwena that those who parted ways with RDP planned on setting up a new party. Other talks are that those who quit would re-join Swapo, a party they left a decade ago in pursuit of another political home.
Nambinga, a businessman with interest in retail groceries in Katutura, further poured cold water over allegations that he and others have since last year been holding private campaigns in preparation for their exit.
“Not that I am aware of. Why should I? There is life behind politics, you don’t have to be a politician to be alive,” Nambinga said in a telephonic interview on Sunday.
He denied talks that he would join another party soon.
RDP Secretary-General Mike Kavekotora on Friday said he was not in office and could not give the exact number of people who have tendered their resignation from the party.
Kavekotora could not be reached on Sunday.