IPC suspends member over coup threats

… newcomer thought he was ‘defending party’

The Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) has suspended new member Kefas Vernandu for allegedly inciting violence in the country.

The party says audio recordings by Vernandu, which were circulated widely on social media, were misconstrued as representing the party’s stance.

The IPC announced Vernandu’s suspension on Sunday.

According to his suspension letter, Vernandu had only been a member for eight days before his suspension.

“You are hereby directed to cease any association with the party and to stop representing the party in any capacity,” the letter states.

The party demanded a response from Vernandu by tomorrow, explaining why his membership should not be terminated permanently.

In one of the audio recordings, Vernandu allegedly suggests the IPC could solicit donations, including weapons, to overthrow the government.

“IPC youth may get donations for arms and stage a coup. We will go into the bush like Toivo [Andimba Toivo ya Toivo], Nehale lya Mpingana and Hendrik Witbooi and seize the country from the white people who are hiding in Swapo,” he said.

“We are being exploited by people who are not citizens of our country. We are in our own country, but we are being exploited,” he said.

Vernandu also threatened Swapo with violence if the “exploitation” continued.

“We can acquire arms the same way we acquired vehicles. The way Tate Bango [Itula] acquired the vehicles is the same way we will acquire the arms and liberate our country,” he said.

Vernandu alleged that the party would obtain weapons from Russia and North Korea to seize the country from Swapo.

He claimed that the party, along with himself, was exhausted and prepared to take up arms.

Vernandu further claimed the source that provided the vehicles to the party also has access to weapons, including machine guns and aeroplanes needed to fight Swapo.

“Give us our country to eat, the same way you ate,” he demanded.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Vernandu confirmed that he recorded the audio clips, thinking he was defending the party.

“I thought I was doing the right thing to defend the party, but I was doing something wrong. My comments have not only angered the party, but the whole country,” he said.

Vernandu told The Namibian he has written a letter to the party in which he retracted his comments.

The IPC recently acquired 101 double-cab pickups for its activities, but declines to disclose the purchase price of the vehicles or the funding source.

About three weeks ago, party president Panduleni Itula said the IPC would call a press conference at the right time to address a multitude of issues in relation to political funding and the electoral process.

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