RDP kicked out of its planned congress venueBy: BRIGITTE WEIDLICH
THE leaders of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) were consulting their lawyers late yesterday to obtain a High Court interdict to force the Windhoek College of Education (WCE) to honour a written rental agreement with the party.
About 500 delegates are expected to attend the congress, which is scheduled to start today.
“We booked the WCE hall and the hostel two weeks ago and received a letter of confirmation. We also paid the rental fee in advance,” Nora Appolus, RDP spokesperson, said late yesterday.
“A WCE staff member phoned us at noon today (Thursday) and said we could not go there anymore.
“We demanded the sudden change of mind in writing, but they refused,” Appolus told The Namibian.
“Our lawyers are now handling the matter to obtain a court interdict since the written agreement is binding.”
A source in education circles told The Namibian that the college has apparently adopted a new ‘policy’ that political parties should not be allowed to rent its premises.
“This is strange since the ruling Swapo Party held a congress there,” the source said.
It is the RDP’s first congress since it was founded 13 months ago – in November 2007.
Delegates are expected to elect the party’s leadership, the 65-member strong central council and adopting a draft constitution.
“The convention will also discuss and adopt our party’s drafted political programme and election manifesto,” Appolus told The Namibian earlier yesterday.
“Two delegates from each of the country’s 107 constituencies will attend the three-day congress, while the seven interim RDP leaders from each of the 13 regions will be there, altogether 91, the interim national leadership and founding members and observers. This will bring the number to about 500 delegates,” Appolus said.
The top four leaders – president and deputy president, secretary general and his or her deputy – will be elected. The interim president is former Swapo member and erstwhile Foreign Minister Hidipo Hamutenya, who was sacked by former President Sam Nujoma in May 2004. Hamutenya resigned from Swapo last year.
The RDP interim deputy president is Steve Bezuidenhoudt and the interim secretary general is Jesaya Nyamu. The post of deputy secretary general is vacant.
Nominations for all leadership posts will come from the floor. It is expected that Hamutenya and Nyamu will keep their posts. The three-day convention ends on Sunday.