Opuwo-DTA members, including those from its central committee, are mobilising the masses in rural parts of northern Kunene to regain the votes the party lost during the local and regional elections of 2014. The visits by the DTA are also aimed at preparing for the 2019 elections.
Kunovandu Vetjiwavi Hepute and Kaazombaruru Kuzatjike, both central committee members of the DTA and councillors on Opuwo Town Council, told New Era their party was busy mobilising communities in parts of Kunene. The two central committee members were joined by Reverend Ngunaike Ueutjerevi, a former candidate of DTA for the Opuwo Constituency.
“We are visiting areas we as DTA went to during our last campaigns to inform the communities what we as a party are up to and to prepare for the polls, as well as regain members,” Kuzatjike said.
The party has put in place strategic plans and other mechanisms to get back some of its lost territories, such Opuwo Urban and the town itself, which were strongholds of the DTA before it lost them to Swapo.
Both central committee members argue that the DTA lost in Opuwo Urban Constituency during the local and regional elections of 2014 mainly because the constituency was divided into two. Previously it was one big constituency, named Opuwo.
“In Opuwo and Epupa it was always us, but Opuwo Constituency being divided led us to lose, as most of pro-DTA parts were cut out from the new constituency, thus making it easier for Swapo to win,” Kuzatjike said.
Hepute said the party does not want to be seen during elections only reaching out to people, hence these visits. “We don’t want to be there [only] during elections. We want to regain our strength and take back what was ours. We remain communities that must retain what was ours,” Hepute adds.
The two central committee members are funding the trips themselves from what they earn as teachers. Kuzatjike said their party does not have a well-oiled machine, like Swapo, but they were trying their best with little they have.
Kuzatjike further said any assistance is welcome from the party’s supporters, but even with or without any support, the visits will continue. “We are not rich like the ruling party and we know our budget, so we decided to undertake work with the little we can provide and that our national offices know about it,” he added. The DTA’s urban constituency visits started on April 8 and will last until September 3. On April 30, they are slated to visit Orumana, Ovivero on May 13, Omuramba on May 14, as well as Alpha and Otjijarua. They will be at Otjitunganane on June 17, Okorosave on June 18, Orokapare on July 15 and at Orutjondja on July 16.
Currently the DTA holds three seats on Opuwo Town Council. Swapo has four seats.