16. February 2015

Hamutenya leaves politics

THE Rally for Democracy and Progress president Hidipo Hamutenya (HH) has said he will leave the party at the end of this month.

This was announced by RDP spokesperson Jeremiah Nambinga, at a media briefing yesterday. Hamutenya had informed the party Central Committee meeting on Saturday in Windhoek of his wish to retire. “Hamutenya has indicated that he wishes to retire from the party presidency and active politics at the end of February 2015,” said Nambinga.

His retirement brings to an end the political career of a man who was once feared, revered and respected in Namibian politics. During his days in the ruling party Swapo, Hamutenya was renowned for his ability to navigate stormy political waters.

Party sources however said that the statement was diplomatic and contradicted what actually transpired. They said Hamutenya had been given an ultimatum to either resign or be pushed out.

However, speaking on behalf of Hamutenya, his spokesperson and son Kella Hamutenya told The Namibian that Hidipo Hamutenya had told the party's vice president Steve Bezuidenhout and secretary general Mike Kavekotora in December last year that he was planning to step down. He also told the party's national executive last month that he intended to step down. Bezuidenhout yesterday confirmed that Hamutenya had indeed informed the party's top four in December that he intended to step down.

Hamutenya's opening statement at the Central Committee meeting also makes mention of his decision of which he informed the party executive and top four in December.

Many of the RDP leaders blamed Hamuteyna for the party's dismal performance during last year's National Assembly elections, where the party fell from having eight seats in parliament to only three, and losing its status as the official opposition party in the National Assembly. Some also blamed the divisions in the party on the president.

Party sources said that even when Hamutenya announced his desire to leave politics, a section of the CC leaders called for a deadline to be set for the president to announce his retirement before 28 February, which is in two weeks.

The Namibian has learned that RDP founding members who are not part of the party's CC were also present when Hamutenya announced his wish to step down. Fillemon Kanime, Shapwa Kaukungwa, Jessaya Nyamu, Kanner Kalmba and Kaptain Endjala are some of the founder members who attended the meeting. Kella Hamutenya said Hamutenya senior had invited the founding members of the party to be present when he announced his retirement.

An extraordinary convention to elect a new party president and leadership will be held in May. (The Namibian, Windhoek)

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