Members of the media
You would no doubt remember that at a press conference I addressed here, on the 16th August 2017, where I responded to allegations made against me by some members of the RDP National Executive Committee, I promised that I would come back and respond in full detail. The purpose of this meeting is therefore nothing other than that.
Let me at the onset welcome you all to this press conference. Allow me to record my appreciation for numerous wishes and words of support I received from the broad segment of the RDP members and across sections of Namibians for their encouragement to remain steadfast in my quest to bring this matter to closure in a way that will open the eyes of RDP members in particular, and all the interested Namibians in general to know what has been happening.
I hope this press conference will put to rest one of the greatest injuries done to the RDP by deliberate misinterpretations by some of the RDP members of the National Executive Committee, who chose to deliberately disregard elementary provisions of the RDP Constitution in matters of allegations and implied misconduct.
These are senior members of the RDP who ought to know the provisions of the Party constitution and guide it in matters of technical nature. I called this press conference in the aftermath of the High Court ruling on the mischievous vote of no confidence peddled against me as RDP President.
The marshalling of lies, and falsehoods is being carried out by a collection of small minded individuals’ masquerading in the guise of RDP National Executive Committee members. However in reality, it is a cabal of self-serving individuals who do not want to accept that they were democratically and transparently defeated at the Extra Ordinary National Convention of 2015 where I was elected as RDP President.
It is common cause that this collection of individuals abused the occasion of a legitimate RDP NEC meeting to move a motion of no confidence which was not even an agenda item for discussion. As a matter of fact, these members of RDP NEC shamefully failed to hold themselves to an equal or high standard than that to which they hold those under their writ.
I for one regret that internal RDP matters had been brought out in the open and placed in the public domain. I would have personally preferred for these matters to have been debated and resolved internally in terms of the RDP constitutional provisions. However the peddlers of falsehoods chose the road and manner in which we had to engage each other in Public.
Members of the media
Let me make it clear here that RDP is a Party which operates on the basis of its Constitution which was adopted at its first National Convention in 2008. Most specifically in this case of allegations, RDP Constitution is clear on how this matter ought to have been handled.
However because this cabal of RDP NEC members were so intoxicated with their own power struggle agenda, based of course on their non-acceptance of defeat, at the Extra Ordinary Convention of 2015, they decided to pass an illegal, unconstitutional and un-procedural vote of no confidence against me at the RDP NEC meeting of 12 August of 2017.
For those of you who may not have read the RDP constitution, issues of alleged misconduct are the responsibilities of the RDP Audit and Discipline Commission and not the RDP NEC or RDP Central Committee. The RDP NEC and RDP Central Committee cannot usurp the powers which they do not have. Equally, the process for investigations and evidence driven interrogations on the allegations made against any member of the RDP also rests within the ambit of the RDP Audit and Discipline Commission and not the RDP NEC or RDP CC.
Ladies and gentlemen of the media
Comrades and colleagues
When I became the President of the RDP in 2015, I must admit that I inherited a fractured Political Party. Some comrades did not want to work as a team and the Party became a victim of constant bickering and skulduggery. It’s not therefore surprising that in this atmosphere, where some comrades lack team work, reluctance to accept legitimate directives, defiance, and general sabotage are the order of the day.
The question is: Having inherited a divided Party what did I do?
As an attempt to unite the Party I created a platform where I could have regular meetings with all the comrades who contested the Presidency. These meetings, were scheduled to take place every second month. I did this, so that we could unite our respective followers and advice each other on the way forward and thereby grow the Party. I however regret to inform you that some of the comrades never attended these meetings and this platform died a natural death.
I also created a platform for the top four (4) that is the Vice President, the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General and myself to meet at least every second week so that we could know each other well and share ideas. Unfortunately however, the colleagues were not enthusiastic with this platform. They were more concerned about their parliamentary committee meetings where they would promote the ruling Party at the cost of their own Party the RDP. Eventually, this platform like the other one also died a natural death.
Members of the media
Growing the Party:
In order to grow the Party, I decided to buy two vehicles and proposed to NEC that I wanted the Party to employ two National field organisers whose responsibilities would be to travel throughout the country and where possible, assist Regional Secretaries in putting up Party structures. This, I knew would make the Party visible and then grow it. Regrettably, the same cabal who constitute the majority of NEC objected the idea for a simple reason that they do not want the party to succeed under my leadership. I am sure if we had field organisers, the Party would have been somewhere today in terms of growth.
You will no doubt remember that when I took over the presidency of the RDP, the Party had already lost five (5) seats in the National Assembly thereby reducing our members from eight (8) to three (3) members of parliament only. At the same time, we were faced with Regional and Local Authority Elections in 2015. As a result, I drew up a programme to visit all the 14 regions and establish what could have been the cause of the Party’s poor performance.
Also, at this given time, some of our Regional leaders particularly in Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati and Ohangwena, were reluctant to participate in the Regional and Local Authority elections due to the use of highly suspect EVM’s.
By going on these visits, I requested to be accompanied by officials from the Office of the Secretary General, the Department of Treasury, the Department of Party Organisation and Political Orientation and officials: one from the Youth and the other Women’s League respectively.
I must state for record purposes that only the Secretary of the Women’s League had responded to my request that her department was unable to send someone to accompany me because they had some other commitments. However she assured me that they would join my Regional visit in future.
Eventually, the head of the Department of Party Organisation and Political Orientation joined me and together with those I had personally chosen, had to go on these visits. I did not get any indication from the Office of the Secretary General, Department of Treasury and Youth. I leave it to you to make your own inferences about probable reason for their absence.
When I came back from these visits, I was surprised that the Office of the Secretary General was spreading lies that I had only chosen those who I knew had voted for me to accompany me. In a meeting with the Secretary General in my office, he himself confirmed what I thought was just a rumour and that is that I had only chosen those who had voted me. If you want to know more find out from him and make your own conclusions.
When I undertook these visits, I started with kavango West where I had a stop-over in Tsumeb. During this stop-over, I met some of our district leaders and wanted to know whether they were informed by their regional leadership of a decision that was taken at the then recently held Central Committee meeting that all districts must identify potential local candidates for nominations as DRP candidates for the Regional and Local Authority Elections which were going to be held in 2015.
This was necessary so that RDP Headquarters would not impose candidates at regional and local levels. To my surprise, our district leaders in Tsumeb were not informed. I then proceeded to Kavango, West, East and Zambezi regions respectively.
During these visits I confirmed what I suspected, that there were no functional regional structures. Yet neither the Vice President nor the Secretary General had informed me of the situation although there have been in their respective positions since 2013. It is therefore tempting to ask the question what they have been doing all along.
In Grootfontein on my way back to Windhoek, I found a similar situation like that of Tsumeb that the district leadership was never informed to identify potential candidates for the same purpose mentioned earlier.
On my return to Windhoek, I wrote a letter to the Secretary General dated 6 September 2015, directing him to remind the RDP Regional Secretaries, to inform the RDP district secretaries about the RDP Central Committee resolution on the identification of potential candidates for 2015 Regional and Local Authority Elections. To date I have received neither acknowledgement in writing to my directives, nor verbal response.
I have evidence to prove this, it’s not a matter of hearsay.
Yet I am accused of being a failure and hampering the progress of the Party. Let RDP members who elected me as RDP President be the judge and not those miscreants, conflict creators and peddlers of falsehoods.
Members of the media
As I was about to undertake a visit to Omaheke, Hardap and Karas Regions respectively and given the situation of some Regional leaders who were not willing to participate in the Regional and Local Authority Elections, I wrote a letter to the Vice President informing him that I could not delay my visit to the above mentioned Regions and therefore instructed him to meet with the Secretary General so that they could go and visit those Regions and speak to our Regional Leaders and urge them to start mobilising people for the upcoming Regional and Local elections. I told him that their visit would calm the situation which was somewhat volatile and unstable. The letter I am referring to was written on the 29th September 2015.
To date, I have not received any acknowledgement in writing or a verbal response to my letter. I have proof to collaborate this directive. Indeed, the inference can be made whether this disregard of a legitimate directive suggests arrogance and or deliberate attempts at both sabotaging and undermining my authority as RDP President.
In addition on the part of the Vice President, the question is whether it is lack of capacity, disinterest, ineptitude, or I do not care attitude.
I have my own view and my conduct in the directives that I gave are consistent with the mandate and the trust bestowed on me by the RDP members. More over, my endeavours seek to build a secure foundation of ownership and accountability and to define priorities. It is aimed at encouraging ordinary RDP members to doing extra ordinary things in the face of determined adversaries for the growth of the RDP.
As a responsible leader I realised that there was no coordination between the RDP Head Office and our then newly elected local councillors. I therefore wrote a letter to the Secretary General on the 21st January 2016 instructing him to establish a point of conduct between his office on behalf of the RDP Head Office and our local councillors. To this, I received no response like in other cases. Having realised that my instructions have fallen on deaf ears, I personally organised a meeting with our counsellors in Mariental on the 23rd April 2016.
It is on record that I have undertaken these initiatives which stand in contradictions to the allegations made against me of being a failure and hampering progress of the RDP. What is more, the peddlers of laundry lists of lies have RDP portfolio responsibilities.
However the commitment they have shown, own and deliver on their portfolios is like a proverbial of looking for a needle in the haystack. There is nothing worthwhile of reporting on their portfolios. They have these portfolios on paper. The Secretary General who is supposed to coordinate heads of departments has never convened a single secretariat meeting since he was elected in his position in 2013.
The Secretary General has failed to travel and visit the RDP regions to acquaint himself with the true state of the Party, this is clear evidence of his organisational and administrative failures.
Yet, they have the audacity to allege that I am hampering progress of the Party. It must be known to them that by their war warped perspective, they have reduced the RDP to be a spectator of burning national and contemporary issues and cheapened internal debates and analytical discourse.
Members of the media
As president of the RDP, and knowing well that the National Assembly is just one platform where we, as RDP engage our voters, our members and the general public. I was not happy with the performance of our members of parliament in parliament.
Therefore, I wrote a letter to the Vice President instructing him to prepare a robust issue driven and consistent 2016 programme of engagement for the RDP members of parliament in both debates, motions and questions as well as developing a reporting frame work which is consistent and measurable for performance assessments and reporting to NEC.
To date, like in other cases, I have not received any response from him. I again reminded him in writing on the 17th March 2016 but still nothing happened. Lastly on this issue I again wrote him a letter on the 02nd of June 2016 reminding him of his constitutional obligations as my assistant. Regrettably all these attempts were in vain.
Members of the media
Before I became the President, I knew that the Party had assets for example, I knew that we had the sound system which was used at the 2013 National Convention. Accordingly, I wrote a letter to the Secretary General on the 17th March 2016 pursuant to my verbal request on the 02nd of February 2016 to be provided with both the asset register and staff contracts and or agreements with the Party. To date like in other cases I have received no response at all.
It’s an open secret that as a Party we had serious problems in Oshana and Karas regions respectively. NEC had discussed these problems several times and as a result a delegation was sent to Oshana under the Chairmanship of comrade Kandy Nehova to go and try and resolve those problems.
However, the problems were not resolved. When the top four (4) were assigned to specific Regions, I was responsible for Oshana, I went there, I had a meeting with people and I reported back to NEC. I also instructed the Secretary General of what should be done to Oshana with a time frame on the 29th September 2016. Regrettably, nothing happened. The same instruction regarding other Regions like Erongo Hardap and Karas were also on the same letter I referred to above and of these only Hardap was successful and a report received from the comrade who was assigned to go there.
Regarding Erongo, I indicated in my discussions with comrade Kavekotora on the 29th September 2016 that I was personally prepared to go there to energise and address the dormancy of the RDP in the Erongo region. It’s on record that Comrade Kavekotora indicated that he will be in Erongo region as part of his National Assembly engagement and will thus use that opportunity to meet with Erongo regional leadership on the 8th October 2016 to address the concerns and establish support levels and assess the resources which will be required.
Unfortunately, it is my view that this assignment to Comrade Kavekotora, RDP Secretary General, had effectively been put on the back burner and conveniently forgotten.
I will encourage you to conceptually fast forward the developments in the narrative I present to you and ask yourself the question: Whether these actions are of someone who does not want to take the RDP forward or impede growth and progress. These actions I have taken speak volumes of the opposite.
Petition by some RDP Khomas Region Members.
It might be worth your while to know that the circumstances which lead to the presentation of the petition of some RDP members is the lowest point in the scheme of lies being peddled by the cabal. Some RDP members from Khomas Region wrote a letter to the Secretary General on the 26th April 2017.
The purpose of the letter was to secure a meeting with RDP top 4. In the letter the comrades suggested two (2) alternative days being Saturday the 20th May or Sunday the 21st May 2017. It is worth mentioning for record purposes that the Secretary General to whom this letter was addressed failed to respond to this letter.
It is my recollection that nearly a month later, on the 6th June 2017, the Secretary General met me in the office of Comrade Kashume our Secretary for Information and told me that, they meaning he himself, the Vice President and the Deputy Secretary General, wanted to see me on the 7th June 2017 in my office. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the contents of the letter from the petitioners. It is worth mentioning here that this was the first time ever that the Secretary General initiated a meeting with me since I took over the Presidency.
After some brief discussion on the content of the letter of the petitioners, it was agreed that the petitioners must try to resolve their grievances with the RDP Regional Secretary in Khomas. It is my further understanding that this was communicated to the petitioners on the 7th June 2017. The petitioners however allegedly rejected the response because to them it was unnecessarily too late. As a result, they decided to organise a demonstration a sit in and camped at the RDP headquarters an exercise which continued intermittently over the month of June 2017 to August 2017.
- Matters came to boil when the petitioners proceeded to disrupt a NEC meeting on Saturday the 10th June 2017 when they demanded to hand the petition to the Secretary General in person.
- They were not afforded the opportunity.
- In the brief discussions about the acceptance of the petition, I as RDP President agreed to receive the petition. The response from the petitioners was that it must be received by the Secretary General.
- This did not happened because NEC was divided on acceptance of the petition and
- NEC meeting was discontinued because of the nature of the disruption.
It is on Record that I met with the four members who co-signed the petition on the 28th July 2017 namely Comrade Lucas Shiyoleni, Stefanus Lucas, Vilho Shixwamanda and Martha Endjala. Present were the Vice President and Deputy Secretary General. The Secretary General could not attend because allegedly he was not in town. We accepted the petition which I hoped to discuss with NEC members, but which I later learned that the Secretary General who had earlier refused to accept it had already responded to.
It must be stated here that the basis of the demonstration is the failure of the Secretary General to respond on time to petitioners. To suggest that I am behind these people is tantamount to say that our people are not capable of thinking for themselves and seeing things as they are. Gone must be the days when colonisers were of the same opinion that blacks could not think for themselves and whatever they were doing against colonisers, was spoon fed to them by somebody else. People should stop blaming others for their own failures.
Members of the media
I would not want to conclude without addressing myself to the Vice President who had the audacity to call the Press conference on Saturday 12th August 2017 and informed members of the media that they, this cabal, had deliberated on issues hampering progress referring to myself.
Mr Bezuidenhout should know that I have a background record of success in life, be it politically, socially and otherwise. Politically I am a freedom fighter and a war veteran. I do not know his political credentials. However, observing him since I met him in RDP, I can only describe him as a defiance of NEC decisions when it comes to performance. He has shown by his own behaviour that he is an impediment to the attempt to get the RDP out of dormancy, and support the development and growth of the RDP. It is clear that he is a liability and anathema to progress. Indeed an abomination.
Through his conduct, he had proven to be a lame duck, second rate politician who no political party would desire to have as its representative. Mr Bezuidenhout as Vice President of RDP is my principal advisor at the first and most direct level. My further recollection of my interaction with him is that there is no evidence of advice he offered, and more worryingly no evidence of my refusal, rejection and or acceptance of such advice offered by him. As a matter of fact, he has exceptional ability of being present without being present.
For example, Mr Bezuidenhout is the most senior RDP Representative in the National Assembly both in rank and service. It is common cause that the most visible part of the work of the National Assembly is the activities relating to motions presented for debate and discussion and questions asked. The workings of the National Assembly standing committee are less visible therefore what ordinary people see is what happens in the National Assembly chamber.
From the analytical research work done, it is recorded that for 2015 session of the National Assembly covering an active period when the National Assembly was in session for fifty seven (57) days comrade Bezuidenhout contribution was a total sum of comments made at the occasion of Honourable Gurirab’s departure as Speaker and one oral question to the Minister of Education. The second intervention in 2015 was for him to second a motion for the appointment of Honourable Katjavivi as the new Speaker of the National Assembly.
For National Assembly circle of 2016, covering forty seven (47) days out of a total of sixty nine (69) questions asked and nine (9) motions presented by the opposition parties when the data is disaggregated, comrade Buezuidenhout posted no questions and zero (0) motions. For this period comrade Bezuidenhout’s contributions was more than embarrassing If not disgraceful.
Over 2017 the circle of National Assembly covering in total of 87 days comrade Bezuidenhout’s performance was likewise nothing worth reporting. Yet he had the audacity to call a press conference and labelled me as a failure hampering progress of the Party.
Members of the media
I together with visionary RDP leaders are here to celebrate the judgement of the Higher Court of Namibia. The judgement of the Higher Court is what we had expected. It is a confirmation of truth and honour on my part. The judgement has demonstrated that the cabal is driven by unmistakable avarice, greediness and spectacular myopia. The Judgement is also a reflection that the cabal is disinterested in the future of the RDP, but pursuit of their narrow minded interest and power grab by any means possible.
The judgement is a message which the cabal needed to hear most. Finally the judgement shows that the vote of no confidence debated and argued on the part of the cabal and the peddlers of lies has been disappointing in its analytical quality, breath and detail as required by the most basic of discourses and engagements. It is indeed a pathetic prejudice effort, chained by shallow reasoning and lowest level and meaningful engagements; it left the cabal with many a pickle.
The Way Forward
I personally believe that RDP has still the potential to reach its goal for which it was formed, provided that members of this party vote the right people at the next National Convention. It is clear from what I have narrated to you that some of the National leaders are not visionary, they are undemocratic, uncommitted and are not there to promote and grow this party, the RDP. Instead they are there for self-enrichment. You all know for example that those who are representing this party in the National Assembly are simply there to collect their cheques for the purposes of having bread on the table for the well-being of their families.
Against this background therefore, my appeal to you is that in spite of all these incidents we must work hard to tell the people the truth to appeal for unity of purpose so that we can make a meaningful contribution and thereby change the future lives of the Namibian people who are in need for our services.
Thank you very much for listening.
Together we can do better!!