ABOUT 48 members of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) in the Kunene Region have defected to the ruling Swapo Party and were officially welcomed by the Swapo leader assigned to the region, Alfeus !Naruseb.
The welcoming ceremony took place at Khorixas on Saturday.
Prominent among those who returned to the Swapo fold was Maleachi Ilonga, a former Swapo Youth League member.
Welcoming the new recruits, !Naruseb spoke out against regionalism and tribalism and said the Swapo Party stood for unity and meant it when it said, “One Namibia, One Nation”.
He said any Swapo member displaying regional or tribal tendencies was not in tune with the party’s policies.
!Naruseb called on the new members to ensure more votes for Swapo in the 2014 presidential and national elections.
“I am so happy that you decided to come back where you belong, welcome to Swapo,” said !Naruseb with a smile when welcoming Ilonga and others. Ilonga had been the RDP’s Kunene regional coordinator since 2008 when the opposition party was formed.
“Regional coordinators for RDP in the Kunene Region, all district coordinators of RDP in our region are now Swapo. We bury RDP today,” Samtaga Katjizemo, former Swapo regional coordinator in Kunene, said when the former RDP members shook hands with !Naruseb.
Ilonga said in a speech on behalf of the new members: “I and those who are with me here have decided with our families and friends to join and rejoin Swapo Party as full members today. This decision was made by us as individuals personally and not due to any force or conditions attached.
“We will continue to be guided by Swapo political party programmes of action as well as its directives like any other loyal party member.”
Ellis Geiriseb, the Swapo district coordinator, said 153 former members of the UDF and other parties had also joined Swapo and would be welcomed early next year.