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Spotlight on the Rehoboth Democratic Movement

Published by May 28, 2010

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The following article was published by NewEraThe Rehoboth Democratic Movement (Reho D.M.) is still in the process of getting registered as a political party. Its founders believe it will make a difference to politics – first in Rehoboth, then also nationally. New Era posed some questions to this party.

The following article was published by NewEraThe Rehoboth Democratic Movement (Reho D.M.) is still in the process of getting registered as a political party. Its founders believe it will make a difference to politics – first in Rehoboth, then also nationally. New Era posed some questions to this party.

How far is the registration process of the Reho D.M. with the ECN? What are the challenges to get registered?

The Reho D.M. over the past week received very positive feedback regarding its application and the final information had been submitted to ECN [Electoral Commission of Namibia] on May 24, 2010. The outcome of the application is expected soon.

Is the Reho D.M. intended to be a regional or national party? Why?

The Reho D.M. is a multi-ethnic movement that will take part in the national and regional and local authority elections. The movement will take part in the upcoming regional and local authority elections in November this year and will contest the National elections in 2014.

The citizens and taxpayers all over the country are faced with multiple problems, which other political parties cannot address effectively, due to the fact that party politics overwhelm the interest and rights of the voters and taxpayers.

What interests are the Reho D.M. representing? We are representing the interests of all ethnic groups in Namibia and strive towards multi-ethnic representation at all levels of government and business. The Reho D.M. stands for the eradication of poverty, with zero-tolerance towards corruption and self-enrichment. Furthermore, it believes in equal opportunities for all citizens, as well as for their socio-economic upliftment.

Who is the party representing? Who are the founding leaders of the party?

The previously divided community groups of Rehoboth have decided to come together and form the Unity Movement in order to unite the community and to give them an opportunity to contribute positively towards politics in the country and Rehoboth in particular. Hewat Beukes played a magnificent role in this regard.

The Unity Movement, over the past months, had discussions with different groups, including political parties in Rehoboth, to see how they could work together to the benefit of the community. However, only the DTA of Namibia was willing to work towards the idea of a United Opposition Front. The Unity Movement at this juncture realised that real participation would only be possible if it is properly organised and registered with the ECN. The Rehoboth Democratic Movement (Reho D.M.) was therefore formed on October 30, 2009.

An agreement was signed with the DTA of Namibia on November 8, 2009, in which it was agreed upon that the DTA will not take part in the three Rehoboth constituencies, during the 2010 Regional and Local Authority elections, but that the DTA will instead support the Reho D.M. by motivating its members to vote for the Reho D.M.

The office bearers of the movement were elected thereafter, with Willem Bismarck van Wyk, as President and Piet Junius, as the Vice President. Jan J. van Wyk is the chairperson, with Michael M. Diergaardt as national treasurer. It should be pointed out that the Reho D.M. represents those who, after 20 years of freedom, have not really tasted the fruits of independence and who were left behind as party politics overwhelmed those who they entrusted to give them a better future.

Is this party a resurrection of Captain Hans Diergaard’s former Federal Convention of Namibia?


What does the Reho D.P. want for Rehoboth and the country?

The Reho D.M. wants a Namibian government that is not dominated by one ethnic group, as it has been for the past 20 years. Moreover, we stand for a competent Namibian government that is against corruption and self-enrichment. The Reho D.M. furthermore wants a government that does not make use of foreign expertise, (while) compromising employment opportunities for its own citizens. It wants a government that recognises the rights of all ethic minority groups, as well as the establishment of well-functioning local authorities, free of party politics, that serve the interest of the taxpayers. It wants equal employment opportunities for marginalised communities who, over the past 20 years, have been left behind.

What is the Reho D.M.’s position on group rights, and how would the party want this matter to be addressed nationally?

The Reho D.M. respects and supports all United Nations declarations and covenants applicable to minority ethnic groups to which the Namibian Government has agreed upon. We will lobby the UN, overseas governments, and leading human rights organisations to put pressure on the Namibian Government to respect UN declarations, covenants and international law on minority issues.

What is the Reho D.M’s position on national issues such as land?

The Reho D.M. is convinced that the land issue should be addressed properly with the involvement of all traditional authorities, whether they are recognised by Government or not. The movement furthermore supports all ethnic groups whose land was confiscated by the German and South African colonial rule, as well as by the Namibian Government in attempts to get back their land or for those minority groups.

The Reho D.M. believes that communal land for small ethnic groups is essential in practicing their traditions, culture and also to help and train their communal farmers to manage small portions of land effectively before they switch over to commercial farming. Moreover, we are convinced that communal land is essential for the survival of minority groups.

What does the party think are the most prominent and burning issues facing Namibia today? How would the party want these issues addressed?

The following are some of the burning issues that we are faced with:

a) Democracy is compromised as the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia is not implemented properly, nor is it respected by those who have created it. The Reho D.M. urges Government and others to implement measures to ensure that the Constitution is adhered to and respected.

b) Dominance by only one ethnic group in all Government structures across the country to the disadvantage of some communities.

The Reho D.M. is in favour of representation of all minority groups at levels of Government where they have appropriate experience and is convinced that in such cases such individuals should work towards the upliftment of their communities.

c) Uneven distribution of the GDP (gross domestic product) and investment opportunities.

For example, the Karas Region contributed heavily to state coffers. However, the amount of money going to the south for development of the region does not reflect its contribution. The Reho D.M. believes in the fair distribution of the GDP.

d) Corruption levels remain high, while measures implemented are not effective.The Reho D.M. is convinced that the drive for self-enrichment and the low level of respect for the disadvantaged, rate payers, the laws of the country and the loopholes in various systems move individuals to practice corruption.

e) The unemployment rate of above 50 percent contributes to poverty and the high crime rate.

The dominance of Chinese has taken away jobs in the construction industry, mining and other sectors of the society and demoted our own people to second-hand citizens as they are misused by foreign companies to the benefit of a few Namibians who benefit from such practices with the knowledge of government authorities.

f) Literacy levels remain low in comparison with other SADC and African countries. A total review of the education systems is required.

g) The HIV/AIDS pandemic and the high maternal death rate is a big concern.

Drugs and alcohol abuse contributes heavily to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, while the lack of proper health care and/or the lack of qualified health personnel might be the high cause of maternal deaths.

Shebeens, whether legal or illegal, should be closed, while education on HIV/AIDS prevention should be brought to the people on the street instead of wasting resources in classrooms training people who do not need it.

More health facilities with qualified personnel with adequate salaries are essential.

Many hold the perception that there are too many political parties in Namibia. What is the party’s position on this, and how different is the Reho D.M. from other political formations?

The fact that there are so many political parties is a sign that the ordinary citizen realises that democracy allows them a choice and it is also a sign that a one-party dominance is not appreciated. However, party politics and the fact that politicians see themselves as bigger than the problems they are facing, contribute to their failure to get the attention of the voters. The fact that many small parties are unrealistic about their chances and refuse to form coalitions with others is only to the disadvantage of the voters as votes are divided to the benefit of the ruling party.

The Reho D.M. is a multi-ethnic movement that believes that the tax payer is more important than its office bearers and is convinced that as a multi-ethnic movement it will be able to unite the divided groups across traditional, religious, cultural, socio-economic and political borders as a united opposition front to the benefit of the electorate. The Reho D.M. further recognises all minority groups and traditional authorities.

It was stated earlier that the party intends to contest the Regional and Local Authority elections this November. What does the Reho D.M. want to offer prospective voters?

The Reho D.M. will put forward competent candidates to effectively manage local authorities to the benefit of the ratepayers. Zero tolerance for corruption, development and the proper and effective management of public resources will be expected from its office bearers.

The Reho D.M. will also work together with other opposition parties to ensure that opposition representation increases on regional and local governments, e.g. the Reho D.M. is convinced that the opposition, if it regards its voters bigger than its office bearers, will be able to win five out of six constituencies in the Hardap Region and three out of six in the Karas Region.