From political allies to bitter foes

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Windhoek

It is amazing how once comrades-in-arms could fall out and cross swords.

The once cozy relationship, spanning over two decades, between McHenry Venaani and Vinsent Kanyetu was so good that the two revived a party destined for the political graveyard.

They plotted together on how to amass political power, toppling Katuutire Kaura and running a successful election campaign last year that saw the party becoming the official opposition again. But Venaani and his longtime ally Kanyetu have shifted from being friends to foes in no time.

Venaani is a charismatic politician, well versed when it comes to current global affairs and has flawless public speaking skills.

Kanyetu, on the other hand, is the man to have in your camp if you wish to infiltrate the grassroots. He possesses the social skills to deal with the rural electorate and was often ready to take a bullet for Venaani.

In fact, party members are of the opinion that Venaani and Kanyetu’s partnership was complimentary – Venaani more the talker, Kanyetu more the foot soldier.

During the 2013 campaign, Kanyetu and Venaani tactically eliminated the party’s top two, Kaura and Phillemon Moongo.

Venaani became president and Kanyetu leaped from being a regional coordinator in Kavango to become the party’s chief administrator.

But like the old adage goes, “all good things come to an end.”

Today, it is criminal to mention the names Venaani and Kaneytu in one sentence.

After his suspension Kanyetu started making all sorts of allegations against Venaani, revealing how Venaani almost joined the ruling party in 2005; Venaani allegedly misusing party funds; as well as using populist tactics to blind the party’s support base in believing that he is the right man to lead the party.

Venaani responded to these allegations: “I really do not want to beat a person who is already down.”

Kanyetu claims he delivered Venaani to the land of milk and honey, while on the other hand Venaani maintains it was due to his popularity and efforts that Kanyetu packed his belongings in 2013 to relocate from Rundu to Windhoek, after becoming the party’s secretary general.

Once Venaani was sworn in as the leader of the official opposition, the relationship between the two started to take a back seat, especially considering the fact that Kanyetu was strictly office based at the party’s headquarters in Ausspannplatz, while Venaani moved into his new office at the National Assembly.

Kanyetu’s alleged involvement in the sale of the DTA headquarters in Rundu, without the consent of the leadership, forced Venaani to take action against his close ally.

Kanyetu still maintains his innocence, but clearly the fingers of guilt all point in his direction.

Some in the party said sacrificing his ties with Kanyetu was the only way out for Venaani.

“It was a difficult situation for Venaani. Had he not taken action it would have seemed like the party condones corrupt acts,” said a party source.

“That will paint a bad picture. How do we want to govern the country one day, yet we cannot even govern our own affairs?” said the party source.

Kaura supporters must be smiling from ear to ear right now, knowing that the men who toppled Kaura through internal polls are now at loggerheads.

After his suspension, Kanyetu even went as far as saying that “perhaps Kaura was right when he said Venaani was too young to take over the party.” Party members are surely praying that the fallout between the two will not have a profoundly negative impact on the party in future.

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