Namibia: Mudge Blasts Opportunistic Opposition Leaders

Republican Party president Henk Mudge said Namibian opposition party leaders are more concerned about their positions than working together to win elections.

Mudge made these remarks in Windhoek on Friday during the party's congress.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the fundamental reason why the opposition parties are not prepared to work together is simply because the leaders are more worried about their own positions than to act in the interest of Namibia," he said.

Mudge said talks of an opposition coalition started in March 2016.

"Initially, I was very excited because it seemed all of us understood the necessity for this to happen. We had two or three more meetings, but then some parties did not attend without giving any reasons," the RP president said.

He was informed via the grapevine that he was not the right person to drive the initiative.

"Needles to say, nothing came of it and the reason being that the leaders realised that with such an alliance or coalition, there will only be one president, one vice president, one chairperson and then they got out," Mudge said.

He said one party demanded to be in charge of the coalition.

"How can a fragmented opposition like ours make any promises whatsoever," he said.

Mudge gave an example of the new kid on the block, the Landless People's Movement (LPM), as an example of a divided opposition.

Mudge cited LPM' that claimed they will take over the government, change the laws and take back land.

"Everybody with few brain cells should realise that they are dreaming. They will never take over government as a party unless they work together with all the other opposition parties, but they try to use the land issue to get the support of the people desperate for land and that can be very dangerous," the RP leader said.

LPM spokesperson Utaara Mootu yesterday said that Mudge's statement is "hypocritical and deceitful.

"LPM has been advocating for the compensation of land on just measures in the areas of urban/rural, ancestral and absentee landlords, she said."

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president, McHenry Venaani told The Namibian on Saturday that Mudge's statement is not well thought out.

"PDM reached out to all opposition parties on a framework coalition. They make demands that are compromising unity of state. We are working with UPM in a joint framework," he said.

He questioned why the RP leader is only coming out now.

"Some only open their mouths during campaigns and disappear. Thus those who want to work together must show a cause of seriousness. The framework we started ended up discussing who should lead as opposed to merging policies key towards co-operation," Venaani said.

He said a proposal was made during the coalition talks to run an election on who should lead.

"People withdrew one by one fearing losing. Why is he only vocal now during elections and quiet perpetually," Venaani said.

Mudge, who is also a property businessman, said he does not support calls to expropriate land without compensation and criticised "weekend farmers" for ruining the land reform efforts.

"The Constitution is clear, there is no way anybody can expropriate land without compensation," he said.

He said the land reform policy should be improved.

"What happened up to now is a disaster. It is obvious that the Swapo elites, their friends and families are the ones that got the land," he said.

Mudge added that people are using farms to show off.

"This [farming] is just something that they show off with their Toyota bakkies. That must stop," Mudge charged.

The RP leader said the party, however, supports claims for ancestral land and that it should be done fairly. Meanwhile, the RP's new leadership after Friday's congress is as follows: Henk Mudge (president), Serafie Markus (vice president), Clara Gowases (chairperson), Herlinde Tjiveze (deputy chairperson), George Smeer (secretary general), Mathias Mbundu (deputy secretary general), Melody Gawanas (youth secretary) and Antolika Gowases (women secretary).

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