Kaapala goes solo for local authority election
By Maria Kandjungu
OUSTED Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP) president and former parliamentarian Banson Kaapala is running as an independent candidate for the Kobbe North Constituency in next month’s council elections.
Kaapala who represented WRP in parliament between 2015 and 2018 announced his intention to run as an independent candidate amid a long court leadership battle against three other WRP members who are all fighting to be recognised as leader and president of the troubled party.
Kaapala joined parliament in 2015 alongside Salmon Fleermuys as WRP’s first ever MPs after the party won two seats from the 2014 National Assembly election. While in parliament, he was elected as the party president during the party’s 2015 congress which also saw the party resolving to suspend its founder and leader Hewat Beukes and his wife Erica who were accused of corruption for failing to account for party funds. This resulted in internal battles which led to the party recalling all its MPs by 2018 including Kaapala.
He told Confidente this week that while he has no intention of resigning from the party, he is unable to contest as the party representative due to the ongoing court battle and will thus go solo for the local authority election.
According to him, as the current leadership battle is seemingly far from being resolved, as a politician he cannot sit idle when he could be bringing much needed change to the Namibian society.
“The party is in trouble. There is a mess and leadership crisis that is stuck in court. We as a party cannot participate in the election due to the court battle, so I decided to do it independently. There is no other way to participate in the elections.
“I do not want to quit the party. My hope is that the leadership issue is resolved so that we can start working on rebuilding the party and trust in our members,” he said.
Kaapala who blames ECN for the current party crisis, acknowledged that the lengthy internal fights have done major damage to the party and will require the next leader to do a lot of damage control before the party can get back to the position that it once was at.
“We have to move on while the court decides on who is the leader. In my opinion this crisis was brought by ECN … they created this mess. They ignorantly and negligently allowed the communist party to take part in the 2009 election as substitutes of WRP, without amending the WRP certificate or constitution; by so doing creating two functions and leadership in one party. And the people who partook in the 2015 election were then products of that unlawful integration or transition which created a third leadership function within the party,” Kaapala explained.
He said that if voted into office one of the discussions he wants to bring to the fore is the demarcation of Zambezi into two regions as he believes the region is too big and as a result many people do not benefit from development projects.
He added that his experience as a politician and parliamentarian showed him that there are many things that are not right in his region.
“Every year there is a budget from central government, but people do not demand to benefit from this fund the way they should. People don’t know about capital projects; they are almost a secret here. People need to know about the development projects and government acts and what opportunities they offer, and how they can benefit.”