Dec 09, 2014

Rehoboth Basters: UPM Wins Seat in National Assembly

In Namibia, the United People Movement (UPM) representing the Rehoboth Basters has won a seat in the National Assembly. Jan van Wyk, the national chairman of UPM, will represent the movement in parliament and focus on issues concerning his people and other minorities. Until now, UPM only had seats in the local council of Rehoboth and Okahandja.

Below is an article published by Newera;

Jan Johannes van Wyk, the man who will represent the United People’s Movement (UPM) in parliament next year has aspirations to be a commercial farmer, and currently works as a human resources practitioner.

Van Wyk is the national chairperson of the UPM, which won a seat in the National Assembly for next year. The UPM previously only had seats in the local councils of Rehoboth and Okahandja.

He says that he realised some years back that it is important for the younger generation to plough back into their communities.

“The only question was where and how,” Van Wyk said in an interview with New Era.

He then decided to write a book on the history of the “Van Wyk” clan and during his research he attended a few meetings of the Rehoboth Bastergemeente and was tasked to represent the Rehoboth Basters on the political front.

He said that a movement, the Rehoboth Democratic Movement was formed and he was elected as its first vice-chairperson.

The Rehoboth Democratic Movement became the United People’s Movement in 2010 and during its first national congress on September 11, 2010 he was elected as the national chairperson and represented the UPM in the Rehoboth Town Council for three terms as a member of the management committee.

Van Wyk is married and has four children of whom one is still at school. He says that he believes that God has a plan for him and that he availed himself.

On the past elections, Van Wyk says the “biggest lesson” learnt was the “urgent call” for the opposition to form a united front to prevent Swapo from getting a two-thirds majority in the next elections as Namibia is quickly heading towards becoming a one-party state.

He said the UPM is generally happy with the results they got, but he believes they could have done better in certain towns.

According to Van Wyk his party will “now concentrate on the upcoming regional and local government elections to strengthen their support base for future elections”.

On the EVMs (electronic voting machines) he said despite the absence of a paper trail, they contributed to the quick announcement of results in some areas.

He said there are some issues to be worked out, especially the cumbersome process prior to casting one’s vote, which takes about 15 seconds.

He said the use of EVMs influenced the results to a certain extent.

As an example he stated that the “temporary ECN officials” who used the EVMs for the first time contributed to the long queues and thus frustrated people who left without voting.

Van Wyk said during his tenure in parliament he will “concentrate on issues of national concern, such as the provision of land and housing”.

Other issues he will tackle are the high unemployment rate, job creation, corruption, education, food production, vocational training and quality health services for all.

He further said he will engage other minority groups that are not represented in parliament such as the San amongst others.

He will also tackle the land issue of the Rehoboth Basters such as the expropriation of their properties by the Namibian Government and their quest for recognition as an indigenous people under the Paternal Law of 1872.