Silly DTA antics

30 January 2014

A whole ten months remain before the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, but the political silly season has already gone into full swing.


The DTA in particular seems to be in the grip of political hysteria and paranoia that cannot possibly do the party any good as far as turning around its political fortunes.

Lately, on an almost daily basis the party seems to make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The talk emanating from the party these days is all crazy talk about assassination attempts, purges and taking harsh disciplinary measures against certain members.

The reports in a local daily this week that new DTA President McHenry Venaani allegedly fears an assassination attempt organised by his predecessor Katuutire Kaura sounds ludicrous in the extreme and at best highly melodramatic and farfetched.

The difference between real drama and melodrama is that the latter is contrived, artificial and so unbelievable that it seems completely detached from any sense of reality.

The recent antics within the DTA could probably provide endless material for a successful television soap opera, or one of those dreadful Mexican telenovelas.

What makes it all worse is that Venaani seems a willing participant in all this nonsense.

This is the same person we all thought looked like a promising, sensible and level-headed young politician, who would finally bring credibility to opposition politics in this country

Namibia cannot claim to have a genuine democracy without having vibrant and credible opposition parties.

Without a viable opposition, we could easily start on the slippery slope of a de facto one-party state (some cynics would say we already have one).

However, we cannot really blame Swapo for this unfortunate situation because the opposition parties in most cases seem to be their own worst enemies.

The minute we start taking them seriously, they start the sort of stupidity we have recently witnessed in the DTA.

Before Independence, the party used to hold rallies in huge circus tents.

This, of course, led people to draw unflattering parallels between the party and a circus – the ones with clowns, bearded ladies, contortionists and performing monkeys.

One would have hoped that the party had outgrown that stage, and that both Venaani and Kaura would come to their senses and start to realise that their feud can only do their party great harm.

One cannot discount the fact the Venaani and Kaura represent very different generations with different outlooks on the world and different leadership styles.

Ironically, prior to their congress last year’s congress both leaders solemnly promised that they would not hold grudges against whoever lost, or start reprisals against the opposing camp.

Hardly four months had passed after the DTA congress, when Kaura started accusing Venaani of instigating a purge against his supporters and allegedly suspending some of them without good reasons.

We have previously warned against loose, irresponsible and dangerous talk about political assassinations, particularly when it surfaced in connection with another prominent politician.

Assassinations have never been part of the political culture of this country, and politicians more than anyone bear a heavy responsibility not to encourage such ideas.

They need to remain mindful of the influence they could have on impressionable minds – whether young or old – that may be susceptible to the power of suggestion.

We fervently hope that sanity will return to the DTA, and that the two leaders can reconcile with each other and start working together for the sake of their party, their members and the country as whole.

The DTA only won two seats in the 2009 general elections, but if the two DTA leaders continue on their present course they might see that dwindle to zero.

The leaders of all opposition parties need to realise that they hold position that carry a high level of responsibility in a democracy and should therefore always maintain a certain dignity.

Leaders of all political parties, of whatever persuasion, need to conduct themselves in a manner that brings credit to both our system of governance and our country.

McHenry Venaani should start living up to the high hopes members of his own party and country at large had of him as a young, upcoming politician who could make a positive contribution.



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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