The acting secretary-general of the DTA, Elma Dienda, has urged all DTA members who do not agree with McHenry Venaani’s leadership to report their grievances to her office, as she will take it up with him.
She added that contrary to popular belief she is not Venaani’s lackey who holds office only at his mercy. She referred to those who do not openly speak up about their grievances within the party “cowards” and “rumour-mongers”, as well as “men who gossip”.
Dienda’s remarks come after fresh complaints surfaced from within the DTA stable accusing Venaani of running the party with an iron fist, of not being open to criticism and sidelining anyone who disagrees with him. It is rumoured that Venaani is running a one-man show, in which he shifts and places his comrades as he deems fit.
This is said to have instilled fear among other politicians, but Dienda says there is nothing to worry about and that she has never come across men who gossip more than women do, in reference to a supposed clique in the party that is spreading rumours about Venaani’s leadership style.
The accusations against Venaani first surfaced in a social media spat between Venaani and firebrand politician-cum-unionist Olsen Kahiriri last year.
This was sparked by high-profile suspensions in the party of its former secretary general Vinsent Kanyetu and two others for selling a party office at Rundu without permission. At the time Kahiriri claimed Venaani had handpicked Dienda to be in parliament and to replace Kanyetu.
In the latest claims, Dienda is said to have suggested a name change for the DTA and some in the rank-and-file of the party strongly disagreed with the request. This is believed to have angered Venaani, who apparently geared up to sweep Dienda’s detractors out of the way.
“I’m surprised, I’m so surprised by this nonsense. Are these people who are saying these things part of management, or the executive? If they are, then I will call them cowards. If you say you can’t say anything in the meeting because Venaani is a dictator then the problem is with you,” Dienda told New Era yesterday.
“None of these cowards came to Venaani or to my office to talk about their grievances. These are men and not women who are gossiping. They like gossip stories more than women. It is nonsense. I do not go with groups. I do things differently. If I see something wrong, I will speak my mind. That’s my style. I do not get involved in gossip,” she continued.
Dienda admitted that there are people, two men in particular, who approached her informally about Venaani’s leadership style, but when she facilitated a meeting with Venaani they never showed up. Dienda advised any party member with grievances to approach her office and not to spread gossip.
Furthermore, she wanted to the source of Kahiriri’s information at the time he gunned for Venaani on Facebook. “I do not know how I became the acting secretary general of the party. I was not handpicked by Venaani and I would advise Kahiriri not to go Facebook with DTA issues.”
“Sometimes when I hear these things about Kahiriri, I wonder if that is the same person I always talk to in my office, because the person who comes to my office listens and is a very mature politician. I’m shocked when I hear about these things on Facebook.”
Venaani and Kahiriri could not be reached for comments on Monday.