AS the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) prepares for its congress this year, members have expressed concerns about the mental and physical capabilities of their party president Hidipo Hamutenya. This week individuals, who preferred to remain anonymous, approached the Windhoek Observer about the current tensions brewing in the party, with the main concern being their president’s well-being.
“The party is divided on several issues stemming from the suspension of the three leaders last year, and now whether or not we should instruct Hamutenya to step down as party president.”
“Many of us are concerned that he is no longer up to the task, because we have observed that he suffers occasional memory losses and even falls asleep in meetings,” a member said.
However according to party vice president Steve Bezuidenhout who spoke with this newspaper on Wednesday, he cannot confirm any such observations.
Bezuidenhout stated that he had been with Hamutenya up until the end of last year, when he appeared to function normally.
The vice president later admitted that there were times that Hamutenya’s mind would appear to drift, but that this was only human for someone under so much pressure.
“Anyone of us can be sitting in a meeting and wonder if we indeed switched the stove off before leaving the house that morning, and for that split second your thoughts are elsewhere.”
“There have been times the party president has asked individuals to repeat themselves while discussing issues, but I would not go as far as to attribute it to memory loss,” Bezuidenhout said.
Bezuidenhout also pointed out that Hamutenya is an old man, and that people should consider that fact when making judgements.
The anxious party members, who approached this paper, feel that RDP needs a resolute and more energetic president to gear the party up for the national elections taking place in 2014.
“Many of us feel it’s time for Hidipo to step down, not only for his sake but for the greater good of the party. People are losing faith in his leadership and eventually they will leave the party,” they said.
When asked whether Hamutenya’s retirement was on the cards, Bezuidenhout merely stated that, various politicians of his generation appear to be retiring and that might put a question in Hamutenya’s mind.
“RDP is a democratic party, and we are also mentoring the youth to take over. If we identify certain talents, we will mentor and guide these young men and women,” Bezuidenhout stated.
The Windhoek Observer could not reach the RDP president Hamutenya for comment because he is reportedly out of the country for the next two weeks.
This week RDP’s deputy secretary for the Kavango region, and a political and community activist, Moses Nyundu, resigned from the party
Nyundu, handed in his resignation to the party’s Kavango regional secretary, Kennedy Shekupakela on Tuesday.
According to Nyundu, his resignation from the party was voluntary and he decided to quit politics in order to concentrate on his private life.
The only public work he will now be involved in is traditional authority matters, as he is currently serving as a member of the Mbunza Traditional Authority’s Chief Council.
“I am doing this both for my personal interest and that of the party as this is the time to pave the way for others to actively participate and serve the party for the benefit of the entire RDP membership in the Kavango Region in particular, and Namibia in general,” Nyundu said.
He expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the party leadership for their teamwork since he joined the party in 2008.