The DTA youth league is dead and in need of urgent revival, but that cannot happen while the wing’s leaders are seated in their air-conditioned offices, says the youth wing’s chairperson for the Ohangwena Region, Hidipo Hamata.
Hamata, who will also contest for the position of DTA youth league secretary – currently held by Bensen Katjirijova – said youth leaders in the party have failed when it comes to engaging the communities.
“I want the best for this party, but if there is one thing that I know for sure it is the fact that you cannot have a big party while people sit in their offices. People must be out in the field travelling and engaging the people. People will not vote for the party if you do not go to them,” he said during a telephonic interview yesterday.
He accused the current leaders of causing the demise of the youth league by not making effective use of social media platforms to advance the youth agenda in the party.
“Politics is about selling yourself, not only to criticise others. Instead of having our [party] president sleeping in Ombili or using municipal busses to engage with the public, the youth league should be doing these things because they are the tools of the party,” he said.
There are rumours circulating within the DTA that Hamata’s countrywide campaign last month was funded by leading members on the party’s executive, who would like to see him succeed Katjirijova.
Sources in the youth league claim Hamata has the backing of most executive members, with some even alleging that certain heavyweights in the party funded his campaign.
“There is no truth in that. The only truth is that I will contest for the position of secretary. I’m a businessman and I’m funding my own campaign,” Hamata said.
Some youth leaders in the DTA unsuccessfully opposed this year’s party congress, mainly on the basis that the four-year term of the current leadership only ends in 2016.
In terms of popularity, however, Katjirijova is miles ahead of Hamata after making it to number 16 on the party’s National Assembly list, while Hamata was at 45.
Asked what he makes of the youth congress being held a year earlier than expected, Katjirijova said he did not support the decision to hold the congress this year, but was left with no choice than to acquiesce to the pressure of the party’s executive.
“Our last congress was in 2012 where the current leadership was elected. I do not know why our terms have to be cut short. I was forced to agree to hold the congress this year, because the party’s executive apparently passed a vote of no confidence in our leadership,” said Katjirijova, who has been leading the youth league since taking over from Lesley Tjiriange in 2012.
Hamata joined the DTA last year from the Rally of Democracy and Progress (RDP).