Tuesday 11 May 2021
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Steve Bezuidenhoudt: My time as HH’s No.2

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-11-10-10-amIf there is anyone who can share the late Hidipo Hamutenya’s leadership acumen accurately, Steve Bezuidenhoudt should definitely be one of the refference persons.

Bezuidenhoudt is the founding vice president of the Rally for Democracy and Progress and served as Hamutenya’s deputy from 2008 until HH was unseated as party president.
Speaking highly of his former leader this week, when asked to list some of Hamutenya’s attributes, Bezuidendhoudt was quick to describe HH as a consultative and a strategic leader.

“He was every consultative and open to suggestions. He would call me about things that needs to be discussed and during the 2014 election campaign he wanted me to campaign on his behalf but I was not comfortable with such an arrangement,” narrated Bezuidenhoudt.
Hamutenya’s introvert personality has often been mistaken for arrogance, but Bezuidenhoudt said although he[HH] was not a man of many words, he was very approachable and open to divergent views.

“Those who worked with him will tell you that he always gave good advice. Most of the time we were very good friends even though we had different opinions here and there. Even when talks that he planned to rejoin Swapo began,” he said.
Bezuidenhoudt said he was one of the people within RDP who advised Hamutenya to return to Swapo.

“I could see he wanted to go back, after all he spent more than 50 years of his life in Swapo, you cannot just forget such attachment. After he was pushed out by the party structures as party president, he had nowhere else to go, that gave him more reason to rejoin Swapo,” said Bezuidenhoudt.

Bezuidenhoudt jokingly said: “I never saw myself sitting in parliament, in fact, even when Hidipo came to me saying we must go to parliament if the party gets enough seats, I opposed but he convinced me otherwise.”

Bezuidenhoudt also said Hamuntenya was a unifier. “When the party suspended Kandy [Nehova] them, Hidipo gave us his perspective on the issue and told me to carry out the task. I must say sometimes I used to fire people on his behalf.”

When it came to democracy, Bezuidenhoudt said Hamutenya was a staunch democrat.

“He believed in a democratic system, you do not tell people what to do but allow them to decide. That was his way of running the party. He taught me never to speak before hearing what the masses had to say. You must first summarise what the people say and act based upon that.” Bezuidenhoudt said he was worried about Hamutenya as an individual when he was unseated in RDP.

“I believe when he returned to Swapo he got that peace of mind even though some people were calling him all sorts of names such as traitor and so on.

But if RDP did not want him where was he supposed to go?”
questioned Bezuidenhoudt.

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