The official opposition, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia (DTA), has officially ceased to be an alliance of ethnically based political formations and has transformed itself into a consolidated national political organisation, as it prepares for the next round of elections and beyond.
The party also revamped the process of electing top office bearers, including the party president and deputy, secretary general and deputy, national treasurer and national chairperson. A total of 72 members of the CC – who are expected to serve for a period of five years – are now tasked with electing the party’s national executive committee members. The functions, structure and powers of its central committee (CC) have been realigned to be more effective and to meet modern challenges, while the national congress will now be responsible for electing the top brass. The changes came into effect after the party at its elective CC meeting at the weekend adopted a new constitution, which among other key changes, makes full-time the position of secretary general.
The meeting also elected Walvis Bay councillor and regional party secretary Manuel Ngaringombe as its new secretary general. He will be deputised by Oshana regional coordinator and councillor in Oshakati Town Council Linus Tobias. Ngaringombe will replace estranged former DTA leader Vincent Kanyetu, who was reportedly involved in a dubious land deal that saw the party lose one of its regional bases at Rundu. “We will have a press conference [today] to give you the outcome of the CC meeting and the names of the secretary general and the deputy secretary general, as well as the names of the CC members,” Venaani said yesterday. “It was a successful meeting and we adopted a new constitution. The DTA will no longer be an alliance of various ethnic parties, but a consolidated political formation,” he said.
At its formation in 1977 the DTA consisted of the South West African Labour Party (formerly known as the Federal Coloured People’s Party) and the United Democratic Party, representing mainly people from Eastern Caprivi (now Zambezi Region). The Bushman Alliance, as well as the Namibia Democratic Turnhalle Party, which evolved from the Nama Alliance, also took seats in the DTA on the basis of ethnic representation.
Oshiwambo-speaking people were represented in the DTA by the National Democratic Party, Ovahereros by the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO), Basters by the Rehoboth DTA Party (RDTAP), while many white voters joined the alliance on the ticket of the Republican Party (RP).
Also, part of the fray was the Tswana Alliance (later Seoposengwe Party) which aimed to represent Tswana people, the South West Africa People’s United Democratic Front (UDF) for Damara-speaking voters, the National Democratic Unity Party for those from the Kavango regions, while many in the Coloured community were riding on the Christian Democrat Union (CDU).
The Republican Party and National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO) parted ways with the DTA in recent years, while the United Democratic Party (UDP) was expelled from the alliance due to its support for the secessionist movement in the then Caprivi Strip, now renamed Zambezi Region.
Venaani said the new DTA will be better equipped and positioned to address contemporary issues and be effective, as the old structures were no longer effective in advancing the organisation’s goals in this day and age.
“All these organisations have now merged and consolidated themselves in the DTA as from yesterday [Saturday],” Venaani confirmed. He said the watershed changes are in keeping with the pledge he made to transform the party when he took over the presidency from Katuutire Kaura in 2013.