DTA Pins Hopes on Coalition


By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek After years of painful erosion of its political support base in the country, the DTA of Namibia has finally decided to initiate the formation of a grand coalition of opposition parties. Addressing his party’s first press conference of the year, DTA President Katuutire Kaura yesterday said opposition parties must seriously consider the formation of a grand coalition if they want to keep democracy alive in Namibia and fight corruption effectively. However, the DTA proposal yesterday got a lukewarm reception from a number of key opposition parties which sounded unfazed by the idea. Kaura said the DTA would take the initiative because if they did not, Swapo Party would then garner 100 percent control of the National Council in the 2009 elections. He said currently the Kunene Region is the only region where opposition parties, mainly the DTA and the UDF, have control. “If we had alliances with some opposition parties, we could have controlled more regions.” He said his party would try its best to bring sense to the opposition parties, otherwise the “Swapo corruption” will prevail for a long time. Kaura also revealed that it is not the first time that they are seeking a coalition. In the past, they held talks with the Congress of Democrats (CoD) at Heja Lodge while the UDF never took their coalition seriously. Kaura said the party held talks with the CoD when the Republican Party and Nudo Party pulled out of the DTA, but the CoD did not take them seriously. “They thought the DTA was going down following the pullout but we have proved them wrong.” Kaura believes that there are no fundamental differences between the opposition parties for them not to merge. “I think the only fundamental difference we have as opposition parties is that we all want to be presidents and secretary generals.” However, many of the opposition parties New Era spoke to believe that there are huge differences and the idea of a grand coalition is a pipedream. The Republican Party (RP) President Henk Mudge said it does not make sense at all to go into a coalition because of a common enemy. “I am not against a coalition but there must be good reasons and we must share the same principles, vision and mission.” Mudge said his party had a good reason to pull out of the DTA and still believes in those principles. President of Nudo Party, Kuaima Riruako, said such an idea had never crossed his mind. The former DTA leader referred to the death of Theboy Hiiho who died during a clash in Aminuis, saying the tears of the Nudo supporters and the parents of Hiiho are not dry yet and thus there can be no talk of a coalition. “The tensions between the Nudo supporters and DTA are still high” Riruako added. There is a general belief that the tribal clashes erupted after a traditional leader who supports the DTA was forcefully being appointed at Aminuis where Nudo has a stronghold, he said. President of the CoD, Ben Ulenga, said he had not received any proposal from the DTA and thus could not comment on the issue. He said his party never had any discussion with the DTA on forming a coalition and also refused to comment on any fundamental differences there may be with the DTA. During the first elections in 1989, the DTA gained 21 seats in the National Assembly but its votes dwindled to a mere four seats in the last election. This could mainly be attributed to the fact that since independence the party has struggled to shake off its image as a stooge of the former apartheid regime. In the view of some of the parties that participated in the liberation struggle, the DTA was simply a collection of South African controlled puppets.