14 February 2014

Namibia: The DTAs Comedy of Blunders


Recent political happenings in the opposition DTA regarding its handling of the Katuutire Kaura saga cannot go without comment, considering the fact that the DTA is among many opposition parties aspiring to provide an 'alternative' government to the ruling Swapo Party.

A fortnight ago the party's extraordinary executive committee meeting unceremoniously kicked out the besieged party bigwig Katuutire Kaura from its ranks, and as if that was not enough it recalled the part-time farmer from the National Assembly. Kaura in turn filed an urgent application before the High Court challenging his dramatic expulsion from the party that he has lead for the past fifteen years. The old man also predicted his expulsion would be the beginning of the end for the DTA and foresaw doom for the party, whose blood he says runs in his veins. But eleven days later its inexperienced leader McHenry Vanaani pathetically told a hastily convened media briefing the DTA management committee decided to rescind its decision to expel Kaura from the party and to recall him from parliament. The seemingly politically naïve Venaani put the blame for the DTA's humiliating turn-around on the party's legal representative who in his own words "failed miserably in his duty to advise the party on the legally correct procedures," regarding the resolution to expel Kaura from the party. The DTA's self-inflicted misery arises from the fact it did not follow its own constitution that states that the executive committee can terminate membership of any party member provided such resolution is sent to its central committee for review. Once the central committee reviews the submission of the executive committee it can make a decision that will be final and binding provided the affected member submits a written submission to the central committee in accordance with the audi alteram partem rule i.e. hearing the other side.

And Kaura fully took advantage of the monumental blunder by dragging the DTA to court and once the party belatedly discovered its fax paus it rescinded its ill-informed decision that appears to have been clouded for the most part by emotion and opportunism. Veenani has regrettably shown a high degree of political immaturity and has tripped over his own boot straps, which could cost the DTA dearly come the November polls.

This whole saga demonstrates to the electorate that the DTA is indecisive and the electorate - even hardcore DTA supporters - will have reservations in casting their votes for a political party that is ill prepared to handle its own affairs. Prior to the expulsion Veenani and Kaura have brawled verbally in public and their row had more to do with a clash of egos, not the best interests of the party. Voters will ask themselves whether it will be worth their while to vote for a political party, whose leaders resort to the media to settle petty, personal grudges. It is no wonder the DTA's political fortunes have dwindled miserably over the years. There is no place for naiveté in politics, which is about pragmatically addressing issues that affect the electorate such as the provision of jobs, quality health, as well as free and quality education. This squabbling and monumental blundering will cost the DTA, because it appears to be ill prepared for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections in November. For the DTA this may as well signal the beginning of the end as predicted by Kaura.

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