Rehoboth Basters fight over Kaptein

A section of the Rehoboth Baster Community wants the election of a new community leader to be postponed, citing alleged irregularities.

16 April 2021 | Cultural

JEMIMA BEUKES

REHOBOTH

A group of disgruntled Rehoboth Baster Community members yesterday protested the "irregular" election process of the Rehoboth Baster Kaptein slated for 24 April.

The group, who question the legitimacy of the election committee, demanded that the election be postponed to a later date and that the N$20 registration fee be scrapped.

The group raised these concerns during a meeting with Ombudsman John Walters.

Walters, in his private capacity, met with Rehoboth Baster Kaptein candidate Rynault van Wyk, the election committee and some church leaders.

Walters said there were many red flags that must be addressed and therefore he could not give concrete advice or answers.

He also dismissed a vote of no confidence against the election committee because of the nature of the meeting.

The other candidate, Jacky Britz, did not attend the meeting.

Doubts

Gianni Beukes, who led the protest, said the election process was questionable and must be reviewed.

"We have more than 70 000 people who identify as Rehoboth Baster but want only 2 000 to elect a credible election. We want the date to be postponed so that people get time to register themselves, “he said.

Wesley Harker, the spokesperson of the election committee, said they gave sufficient notice to the community and that the candidates also agreed to the date.

Rynault van Wyk, who stands as a candidate, disputed that and said he had told Harker on 21 March that the date must be postponed.

Van Wyk added that the election committee appeared to be Britz's campaign team at the same time.

"I feel unwelcome at the Rehoboth Baster Community offices. There is an unpleasant atmosphere is why I asked that we have the meetings in a neutral place," he said.

Factions

A church leader, Reverend Dean du Toit. said it is evident that the community is divided into factions and urged that an urgent meeting be called to discuss their differences.

"Let us have a meeting to discuss everything; let us meet with the office of the regional governor and reconcile with government,” he said.

Du Toit also recommended that the Electoral Committee of Namibia (ECN) be called in to assist with the election.

To this Harker responded that they were in consultation with the ECN, which had promised to train election officials.

"About the election, we will discuss it and decide whether we will postpone or keep the date," he said.

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