RDP leadership race heats up

29 May 2019 14:50pm
ONGWEDIVA, 29 MAY (NAMPA) – The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) candidates vying for positions at the party’s national convention slated for Windhoek this weekend, say slate politics are not part of their campaigning strategies.
Although three slates or camps, headed by Kandy Nehova, Miriam Hamutenya and Mike Kavekotora as the president hopefuls, the trio distanced themselves from one of the latest terms to appear in Namibian politics.
Nehova’s group is without a vice president candidate, while Asser Sheuyange and Phyllicia Hercules are its candidates for secretary general and deputy secretary general positions, respectively.
“I don’t know slates, but I can confirm that I am standing as a presidential candidate at the convention this weekend,” replied Nehova when approached for comment on Monday.
Responding to Nampa on Tuesday, Hamutenya, who is campaigning to be the first woman president of the party, said the slates mentality dwindled away as the campaigns are ending.
As the convention comes closer (Friday to Sunday), delegates are pondering on who to finally vote for within the original slates or across the slates, she said.
“Hence, candidates are now owned by the central committee as compared to those who asked them to stand together as a team,” Hamutenya narrated.
She campaigns alongside former member of Parliament, Heiko Lucks (vice president), Eenhana Town Council RDP member, Walter Ndakondja (secretary general) and former RDP youth leader, Sibuku Malumbano (deputy secretary general).
The party’s secretary for education and training, Eino Heelu said he is partaking in the race as an independent vice president candidate on the grounds he does not believe in slate politics, and neither does he want to be 'wheelchaired' into a position.
Heelu wants the delegates to vote for him on the basis of his personal character, saying his vision is about eliminating longstanding feuds in the RDP leadership and turning the party into a strong united force.
“I strive for unity in the rank and file of the RDP and thus chose to be an independent candidate, not affiliated to any of the three slates,” said Heelu, adding he will support the winners nonetheless.
Former RDP leader in the Kavango Region, Kennedy Shekupakela (vice president), Brunhilde Cornelius (secretary general) and RDP Member of Parliament and serving deputy secretary general, Agnes Limbo (deputy secretary general) are Kavekotora’s running mates.
Kavekotora, who is incumbent secretary general, confirmed that he stands as a candidate for the RDP president with Shekupakela, Cornelius and Limbo as his running mates.
“I don’t know where the slates come from, but what I know is that when you are running for a position in the party, you need running mates who are of the same intention to meet the objectives of the party,” Kavekotora stated.
Political analyst, Dr Charles Mubita when approached for comment said campaigning under slates, camps or running mates is same thing.
Mubita said candidates know that they are divided in groups within and as long as their campaign is centred around people in that grou, then it is a slate, no matter it being called something else such as running mates.
“They are playing with words in order to try confusing people, your running mate is part of your slate because you want people voting for the president also to vote for the vice president,” argued Mubita.
Four leaders and other members of the RDP leadership will be elected this weekend after the party’s president, Jeremiah Nambinga, resigned last year.