New political party emerges at RehobothBy: DENVER KISTING
“PARTY politics and its execution are the root cause of the problems that hold the people of Rehoboth and across the country hostage.” This is what motivated a group of disgruntled Rehoboth residents to, ironically, also enter the political scene.
The group co-headed by former DTA heavyweight Piet Junius, who call themselves the Rehoboth Democratic Movement, applied to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) on Friday to be registered as the latest political kid on the block.
According to its chairperson, Jan van Wyk, various civil organisations at the town met at the start of 2009 to establish how they “could help the residents of our town and the country”.
This came after they group became increasingly dissatisfied with the “constant deterioration of the town as a whole”.
Following this, a “unity movement” was formed and political parties were engaged, Van Wyk told The Namibian.
However, political parties wanted the group to join them – something which Van Wyk said they were not keen about. However, in order to participate in the regional and local council elections this year, they were in the end left with no option but to apply for registration as a political party with the ECN.
Van Wyk added that although their current main focus is Rehoboth, they are eyeing the rest of the country too.
“Rehoboth means space and we would like to create the space to move across cultures barriers to accommodate traditions.”
Moreover, he said, they also intend to cater more for minority groups, “for example some Nama- and Damara-speaking communities that are busy disappearing”.
Asked whether the upliftment of women is also on the prospective party’s cards, Van Wyk said: “Unfortunately, it is one of our problems: We battle to get women involved.”
According to him, they are aiming to have “at least three” women elected to their management once the registration has been approved.
The current management comprises six men – all from the Rehoboth community. Junius is the movement’s vice president, whilst Willem Bismark van Wyk is its president.
Upon enquiry, Junius emphasised that “we are not a political party but a unity movement”. Had it not been for the requirements to register as a political party in order to take part in the regional and local elections, they would not have done so, he said.
Although he is still part of the DTA, he will resign once the new movement is registered, Junius added.
Van Wyk estimates that they have “around 2 000 non-official” supporters thus far. Furthermore, he said, an agreement was reached with the DTA in 2009 already in terms of which the former official opposition will not take part in this year’s regional and local council elections in the Rehoboth constituency but instead support the Rehoboth Democratic Movement.
DTA president Katuutire Kaura yesterday said that he was “aware of such talks [about an agreement with the new party]” but was not sure whether such an agreement had in fact been signed already.
Meanwhile, the prospective new party lashed out at “some members of the RDP at Rehoboth” who allegedly claim that the idea behind the movement is to have Rehoboth declared as an independent state. According to them, these claims have no grounds and are “unacceptable”.
The RDP’s spokesperson Jeremia Nambinga told The Namibian that he was unaware of such allegations. “If they (Rehoboth RDP members) said that, those are their own, personal perceptions and not that of the RDP.”