President of the Republican Party, Henk Mudge has abandoned plans to vie for the country’s presidency. Instead, he announced that his party will rally behind independent presidential candidate, Dr Panduleni Itula.
Mudge made the announcement on Thursday morning stressing that he has been in talks with Itula as well as his party’s rank and file, and that they have unanimously agreed to throw their weight behind the independent candidate and presidential hopeful.
“I spoke to Itula last week and we have been in constant contact ever since. It is not a secret that our country is in trouble. We are in dire need of a new president and I believe that by withdrawing my candidacy and rallying behind one viable candidate presents the perfect opportunity for us to bring about the much needed change,” Mudge stressed.
He however maintained that on Wednesday he received a letter from the Electoral Commission of Nambia (ECN) informing him that it is too late to withdraw from the race, seeing that the list of presidential candidates has already been finalised. Mudge, however, maintained that he had only signed for RP to partake in the National Assembly election and not the presidential vote. He has threatened to take ECN to court over the matter.
“I will go to the lawyers after this meeting,” Mudge said. His candidacy will however not be the only reason that he is approaching the courts.
The RP president revealed that he is also launching an urgent application to challenge the legitimacy of the use of EVMs during the forthcoming election.
Also to be dragged under the judicial hammer is the government’s decision to not recognize former members of the South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) and the paramilitary Koevoet members, as war veterans.
On this score, Mudge has promised to launch an all-out battle with the aim of drawing the international community’s attention to the former apartheid soldiers’ plight.
“We have assisted them in the past with the registration of their organisation NamVet and we just want to resume from where we left off,” Mudge stated.
Mudge maintained that the problems that are currently facing the country are not as a result of the purported global economy but corruption, which has escalated to higher heights. He further maintained that the problem is exacerbated by the on-going disunity among opposition parties. According to Mudge, his party has tried since March 2016 to orchestrate plans that would enable opposition parties to move as a united front, but to no avail.
“Opposition party leaders are egotistical and overly ambitious. They keep making empty promises which they can only deliver once they unseat Swapo. But, they come up with no tangible support or plans to take over the administration,” Mudge said.
According to the apartheid-era Republican Party leader, 14 political parties convened meetings earlier this year and agreed to challenge the fact that EVMs do not have a paper trail. They met with a lawyer and it was agreed that each political party should pay about N$10,000.00 for the case to go to court.
“In the end, only RP, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) and Swanu of Namibia paid their legal fees. The other parties withdrew,” Mudge revealed.
He lamented the disappearance of money, at public institutions such as the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), SME Bank and more recently, Agribusdev as signs of the blatant corruption that is prevalent in the country.
“A fish rots from its head and not its tail. We need a change of leadership and we need it now,” Mudge said.
Dr Hoze Riruako, a political analyst and academic told the Windhoek Observer that the union of Mudge and Itula will be a drop in the ocean.
“Unity among the opposition parties is necessary but history has told us that such attempts have resulted into short-lived success,” Riruako said. He maintained that for such a move to yield significant results there is a need for the merging parties to align their goals with one another.
“It is clear that right now, Swapo does not have a strategy to deal with Itula. He has age and political allegiance working in his favour,” Riruako said adding that the tribal factor cannot be ignored.
“As much as we are preaching the, One Namibia/One Nation mantra there are sections within Swapo where the tribal card is drawn and Itula is bound to benefit from that,” Riruako stressed. He added that this, coupled with the few votes of the RP, could fortify Itula’s challenge.
During the 2014 presidential election, Mudge initially urged party members to vote for Hage Geingob of SWAPO, before deciding to stand as a candidate. He received only 8,676 votes of 772,500 votes cast and finished fifth of nine candidates. In the parliamentary elections, the RP received a mere 6,099 votes and was given1 seat.