New Era (Windhoek)

12 February 2013

Namibia: Venaani Champions Change in DTA

Windhoek — DTA presidential candidate, McHenry Venaani, says leadership is not determined by age, but skill and willpower to change the status quo in the party. Venaani said this during an exclusive interview with New Era yesterday.

The youthful Venaani's nomination by the party's youth league last weekend came as no surprise after long-serving president Katuutire Kaura announced that he would not stand for another term as DTA leader, paving the way for Venaani (35). Venaani confirmed he would be running for president, come 2014.

"I am humbled and appreciate the confidence the youth league has put in me," he said, adding that there was no time for complacency but hard work to further the ideals of the opposition party whose political fortunes have waned in recent years.

"Any leader needs support," he pointed out, saying that leadership was not about individuals but a collective effort to address issues that affect Namibia, such as poverty and high unemployment that affects mainly young people.

The incumbent Secretary General of the DTA says his youthfulness will not affect his candidacy and was also not a negative factor, since he has a track record, including serving in an international capacity for the party where he met many heads of state on assignments.

Venaani says he would not be the first young person to run a party if he were elected and referred to former president Dr Sam Nujoma, who became the president of Swapo Party at a young age; DRC President Joseph Kabila who took office at the tender age of 28 and Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, who was under 30 when he became party president.

Many admire the DTA leader for his wit and some in ruling party circles have called on him to join their ranks, but the young leader who has been with the DTA for more than 15 years, during which he served in various capacities, says the DTA remains his political home.

"Democracy is deeply enshrined in the balance of power," he said, adding that he is a principled patriot, who believes that a good leader does not necessarily jump ship. He said if all good leaders were to join one party, there would be no checks and balances, leading to a one-party state as witnessed in many other countries that had to reverse their systems of governance.

"We should be democratic to accept different views, but still remember that we are still citizens of the same nation," said the party presidential hopeful.

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