Africa-Press – Namibia. Jeremiah Ndjoze
THE ongoing infighting within the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement, which has resulted in two of its top members being relieved of their duties, does not bode well for it ahead of a national election.
Former spokesperson accuses movement of:
• a lack of proper structures
• a lack of transparency
• ‘village style’ hierarchies
This is according to political analyst Rui Tyitende, who says: “The sad part about our political landscape is that opposition parties and other political formations are expected to provide clear direction, especially in local authorities where they have a presence.”
He says what has been transpiring instead is that these formations have been in the news for all the wrong reasons.
“I believe they will be punished for this in the near future,” Tyitende says.
This comes after the former spokesperson of the movement, Simon Amunime, recently released a video in which he is speaking candidly about numerous issues dogging the young organisation.
Among them are the alleged lack of proper structures, lack of transparency, and ‘village style’ hierarchies.
Tyitende says the AR started on a positive trajectory, with a focus on urban land delivery.
This later evolved into anti-corruption campaigns, which he says did well in bringing certain issues into the public domain.
“But if the accusations are true, the general public may lose hope in activism politics – especially when it comes to bread-and-butter issues,” he says.
University of Namibia lecturer Hoze Riruako says it took the movement too long to join the political fray for local authority or even national leadership.
“Had they formalised themselves as a fully fledged political party earlier, they would have amassed their following and have asserted more influence on the systems currently in place,” he says.
In a widely circulated video, Amunime says he and head of elections Paulus Kathanga were invited to a meeting at Walvis Bay recently to discuss issues related to the movement.
“We were chased out of that particular meeting, because we were very firm in what we demanded,” he says.
Among the demands, Amunime says, was clarity on N$50 000 “which was allegedly given to one of the movement’s leaders”, and which the said leader allegedly claimed was meant for petrol.
Questions were raised about the holders of the account in which the money was deposited and about the documentary proof thereof, he says.
“We could not get answers. We wanted proof from the leadership and head of finance. Unfortunately, we were shown the door,” Amunime says.
Amunime and Kathanga have since been relieved of their duties.
“This is not something new. I take full responsibility for the letter that was written on 4 July, and the submission that was written on 29 June. We are demanding the bank statements of the organisation so we can expose this corruption,” he says.
Amunime says the movement does not have appropriate appointing and management structures.
“The AR movement has no constitution, nor leadership that was adopted, let alone policy. It is just an organisation that is there. I was appointed at a press conference.
“I was told come, you speak nice, be the spokesperson,” he says.
The same method is used for appointing top leaders, he says.
“He just baptised himself and decided he would be the activist-in-chief.
“We want the organisation to move towards becoming a democratic body, and away from the village mentality of chiefs and headmen.
“Such hierarchies turn people into subjects of others,” Amunime says.
‘NO MORE HAPHAZARD APPOINTMENTS’
AR co-founder George Kambala says some appointments in the movement were made haphazardly.
This is because the movement was growing at a fast pace, he says.
“But since 2021 we took a decision to formalise, reorganise and institutionalise the movement. This meant haphazardly appointing people had to come to an end . . .
“We have a draft constitution, as well as the interim operational mass, which is the organ that deals with the day-to-day operations of the movement. We also have the national activist council, which is the body between the interim operational mass and the national assembly,” Kambala says.
The AR this year decided to mirror the draft constitution until it is adopted at its national assembly, which is set to take place in November, he says.
“In June this year, we had the interim national activist council. It was at this gathering that Amunime and Kathanga were relieved of their duties.
“It is the highest decision-making platform as per the draft constitution. At this moment we are busy formalising. So, if someone is saying there is no formal structure or documentation, that is a farce.
“It is frivolous, because the same person who is asking for the whereabouts of this document was in the meeting that adopted it,” Kambala says.
AR MEDIA CONFERENCE
Kathanga in a previous interview said he requested AR bank statements from the beginning of 2021 to June 2022 from the head of administration, Vaino Hangula, on several occasions.
Speaking at a recent media conference at Walvis Bay, Hangula said the request to furnish Kathanga and Amunime with the movement’s bank statements would be irresponsible, as they reportedly have not explained their motives.
“It does not make sense for an individual to be given the bank statements. What is he going to do with it?”
Also speaking at the Walvis Bay media conference, Amupanda challenged those who believe there is corruption in the movement to report it to the relevant law-enforcement authorities.
He admitted the movement has received money from people from all walks of life.
“We got support from people to pay for bail, we got support to pay for activists who dropped out of university, we have gotten support to buy electricity, to fill up gas tanks for activists, for activists to get tickets to fly, we got support from various people, and we are not ashamed of that,” he said.