As the race for the presidency of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) heats up, one of the four candidates, Kandy Nehova, is touring the northern regions where he hopes to gain much-needed support to enable him to replace his long-time friend Hidipo Hamutenya as party president.
“We are in the process leading up to the extraordinary convention that will elect a new leader to replace Hidipo Hamutenya. That is not easy because HH is a veteran politician with unmatched credentials,” Nehova said.
Nehova, who is RDP secretary for housing and human settlements, said if elected RDP president he would not go to the National Assembly but would work at the party head office full-time to rebuild the party and restore it to its former glory.
He also described the current National Assembly as an illegitimate body.
“It was elected using Electronic Voting Machines that leave no paper trail and results could therefore not be verified.
The issue is not about who won. The issue is that voting must be legitimate and the results verifiable.
The introduction of EVMs was a dangerous move towards a one-party state,” he said.
Although blaming the EVMs for the poor results last year, Nehova also admitted that the RDP was not at its best.
“The party needs a revival to attract more members and to also be able to raise funds for its proper functioning,” he said.
Nehova said he has people “in the field” campaigning for him and he is campaigning himself, approaching RDP members and asking them to support his candidature.
The other three RDP leaders vying for the top spot in the party are Jeremiah Nambinga, Libolly Haufiku and Heiko Lucks.
Nehova said more candidates can still step forward, either during the Central Committee meeting that will take place a few days before the convention or be nominated from the floor during the convention itself.
Turning to the circumstances under which former RDP president resigned his position, Nehova said Hamutenya was not forced to step down.
“He told us last year already that he intended to step down. What happened this year is that we demanded that he tell us now about his plan to step down so that we could plan ahead.
There is work to be done,” Nehova said.
Nehova also dismissed claims by some supporters of his opponents in the race that he is not a Namibian. “Kandy is Namibian who played a role in the liberation struggle of Namibia,” he said.
He served Swapo in various capacities, including being the deputy head and then head of Swapo’s department of information and publicity; the Swapo secretary for party organisation; and from 1994 to 2006 he headed a subcommittee of the Swapo Central Committee on internal rules that included Jesaja Nyamu, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Kanana Nghishoono, John Shaetonhodi, Hartmut Ruppel and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana.
The RDP’s extraordinary convention will take place in Windhoek from May 23 to 24 with only one agenda item: to elect a new president.
By Placido Hilukilwa: Namibian Sun