With less than four months left before Namibians vote in the upcoming National Assembly and Presidential Elections on 27 November 2019, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) says that these elections will be like no other as, “voters will do everything in their power to force the system to recognise their votes”.
At its inception in 2007 the RDP, launched by Swapo stalwart Hidipo Hamutenya in his dramatic split from the ruling party, was anticipated to be the first opposition party to pose a serious challenge to the ruling party; this expectation never panned out. Swapo’s dominance at the ballot box since independence has been unabated.
The RDP only won a mere eight seats in the 2009 elections, which has now further contracted to its current three seats, forcing it to yield its role as the Official Opposition to the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) who holds only five seats in the Parliament.
Along with former Swapo Cabinet ministers Hamutenya and Jesaya Nyamu, the party’s popularity and promise diminished, marred by a leadership crisis and in-fights. Hamutenya later resigned from the party he helped found and returned to Swapo prior to his death in 2016.
The number of opposition parties in Namibia keeps increasing every election year with 17 political parties registered to contest in November.
Brunhilde Cornelius (BC), who is also the RDP councilor on the Windhoek City Council, was recently elected secretary-general of the party. Speaking to the Windhoek Observer’s Magreth Nunuhe (MN) this week, Cornelius revealed the party’s plans to win the elections and take power:
MN: Will you observe the 50/50 zebra style in your elections for the Electoral College?
BC: As reflected in its 2014 election manifesto, RDP has adopted equal gender representation (50/50) based on merit and will continue pursuing
MN: What do you envisage/hope to get (seats) at this year's national elections?
BC: We hope that this time around RDP will not be cheated by the Indian manufactured EVMs and or through any other election manipulation as (it) happened in 2009. The three seats allocated to RDP after the 2014 elections were fake and this time around the voters will not allow Swapo Party, through ECN, to compromise the integrity of the Namibian election system and process. Voters will do everything in their power to force the system (to) recognise their votes.
MN: When will you hold your electoral college?
BC: The media will be informed on the specific date once all preparations are finalised. The second National Executive Committee will meet this weekend and I am hopeful that the date for the Central Committee will be determined. It is the Central Committee that determines the date for the Electoral College.
MN: How do you intend to break the two-third majority of Swapo?
JK: RDP’s aim is not to break the two-third majority of Swapo. RDP will go into these upcoming elections to win and take power. As you might know, Namibians have woken up from almost 30 years of being bamboozled by the ruling party. This time around the voters will vote for change and that change is RDP.
MN: How will you make RDP relevant in these elections?
BC: RDP is already relevant since inception. It is a people’s driven organisation, founded on social, democratic, ideological principles that value honesty, integrity, justice, and fairness. RDP’s solid organisational structures were hard at work nation-wide to ensure that citizens registered with the ECN to cast their votes come November 27, 2019. Secondly, RDP is hard at work with civic education not only among its members but also among other citizens of our country. The RDP leadership is currently crisscrossing and talking to the citizens of this land, telling the citizens the truth that the poverty they found themselves in is man-made, deliberately so to keep them dependent on hand-outs. This state of affairs is not conducive to the dignity of our people and it should be addressed and alleviated once RDP comes to power.
In this coming election campaign, the RDP’s message will be centred around its radical socio-economic and cultural transformation political program. In short, the premise of this program is “Whereas all wealth above ground, underground and in the waters of Namibia belong to the Namibians people by birth; therefore any deprivation of the Namibian people of the basic social and economic necessities shall be deemed as criminal and betrayal of the people’s confidence in those who are entrusted to manage the people’s resources on their behalf.
Contrary to these fundamental principles, the prevailing socio-economic conditions to which the Namibian people are subjected are utterly unacceptable as they testify a broken trust between those who have been in power for thirty years since March 1990 and the Namibian populace. More importantly, the war of national resistance and the subsequent war of liberation which was waged by all Namibians as a united front had the ultimate objective of improving the living standards of all Namibians as equal people, enjoying the same rights under a free political environment.
Namibians are fortunate to have been endowed with a large expanse of geographic space, which includes the sea, rivers and a diversity of land ecosystems containing immense wealth. The main natural resources of the Namibian people are land, water, wildlife, livestock, fisheries, and minerals. Cognisant of the immense sacrifices made by the selfless Namibians since the dawn of the 20th century, the RDP calls upon all Namibians to embrace true national reconciliation irrespective who sided with the liberation movements and those who served on the opposite side.
The RDP proclaim to manage the people’s resources in a manner that derives maximum direct and indirect benefits for all the Namibians. After all, the Namibian populace at less than 3 million are potentially more than catered for by their God-given wealth.
MN: What are the highlights of your election campaign?
BC: As indicated above, RDP places the welfare and development of the people at the centre of its election campaign.
MN: Is the opposition dead?
BC: RDP is not an opposition party, rather it is an alternative to the ruling party – the embodiment of the ideals for which the sons and daughters of the Land of the Brave shed their sweat and spilled their precious blood and lives.