• January 23rd, 2019
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DTA expels Kaura

Politics, Features
Politics, Features

WINDHOEK - The faction-riven opposition DTA yesterday expelled its honorary chairman and former president, Katuutire Kaura. The DTA gave Kaura the worst-ever birthday gift when it announced that it had terminated his party membership and recalled him from parliament. Kaura, who celebrates his 73rd birthday today, will be replaced in parliament by the party’s youthful president McHenry Venaani (36). The party said it has decided to take drastic action against the embattled Kaura for apparently bringing the party into disrepute, underming the authority of its leadership and perpetrating factionalism and divisiveness within the party, said party spokesman, Nico Smit, in a statement issued yesterday. Kaura’s fate was sealed during an extra-ordinary executive committee meeting held on Saturday in Windhoek, where its members decided to unceremoniously jettison the luckless Kaura. The expulsion of the veteran politician ends months of rumours and speculation, which the party unsuccessfully tried to deny. There has been an open feud between Kaura and Venaani, which has divided the party in two bitter factions. The expulsion comes months before the party contests the National Assembly and Presidential elections. Pro-Kaura supporters have vowed not to vote for the DTA and for its incumbent president, Venaani, during the upcoming National Assembly and Presidential elections slated for November this year. Approached for comment yesterday, Kaura refused to say anything pertaining to his expulsion. “Call me tomorrow [Monday], I will only comment once I see what you guys (media) have written,” said the veteran politician. When this reporter asked him whether it is true that he is planning to take the party to court for unfairly terminating his membership, Kaura only laughed and said: “Who told you such things? Those who told you must be witchdoctors.” Meanwhile, Smit said the party’s executive committee meeting passed,with an overwhelming majority, a motion of no confidence in Kaura, which was followed by the passing of a motion to terminate his membership in the party. “Subsequently a decision was taken at the Executive Committee meeting that Kaura, considering that he is no longer a member of the DTA, be recalled as a member of parliament from the National Assembly with immediate effect. A decision was taken at the meeting that DTA president McHenry Venaani, would replace Kaura in the National Assembly,” said Smit. He further said the party will write a letter to the National Assembly speaker, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab, today to inform him about the new changes. A party insider alerted this reporter and said remarks made by Kaura in New Era last year led to his demise in the party. Late last year Kaura told this reporter: “I do not report to any individual, I report to the 25 000 people who voted for the party.” “The television, radio and newspapers are there, anyone who watches television or read papers will know what I am all about, I do not need to run to people [DTA leadership] to report what is happening in parliament,” he had said at the time, remarks which Smit described as nonsense. “How can he say that towards the leadership of the party?” Smit acknowledged that the Kaura saga has brought turmoil within the party’s ranks. “You can’t imagine what turmoil this thing has caused in the DTA, it has totally split the party in two, those supporting Kaura said openly that they will not vote for DTA or Venaani. As a party we cannot carry on like this, sooner or later you have to take a decision, even if it hurts the party, at least you can start from scratch and continue to work hard. I am urging our members and supporters to remain calm and supportive,” Smit appealed. He also told this reporter that Kaura’s longtime political sidekick Phillemon Moongo, will retain his seat in the National Assembly until his term expires. “Moongo is a very loyal person... I respect him a lot because he is not a person for confrontation, but rather for consultation. He will go out of his way to help the party, he is a very loyal member,” said Smit. “The media reports going out were confusing our people and there was a lot of confusion and dissatisfaction. People kept on pushing us to take action,” said Smit. Kaura and Venaani’s feud started last September when Venaani, then the Secretary General of the apartheid-linked DTA, defeated Kaura to become the party president. Venaani’s victory brought an end to Kaura’s 15-year reign as party president. Party loyalists opted to get rid of Kaura following the party’s lackluster performance during his presidency, a period which saw the party losing its status as the country’s official opposition. The DTA only has two parliamentary seats at present, compared to the 15 seats the party had when Kaura took over the presidency. Political analyst, Professor Joseph Diescho, said the latest development is a cach-22 situation for Venaani. “I know for a fact that he (Venaani) tried to prevent this, but the former president seemed not to have accepted that he is no longer the leader.” Diescho said Kaura conducted himself in a manner that forced the DTA leadership to ‘sacrifice’ him. “Instead of allowing him to do the damage that he seems to have been doing by creating a situation where the party seemed to have two centres of power,” Diescho said. According to him any political party would have done what Venaani’s team has done, which is to cut ties and to let the elderly Kaura who seems to have become a political liability go. “From what we have seen it was not helpful to the DTA, in fact it is a very sad moment, not only for the DTA and Venaani as leader, but for the entire opposition politics. Generally, it is not good to see internal squabbles tearing apart the opposition, look at RDP and CoD it just shows how weak the opposition is,” said the respected Namibian academic and analyst. Diescho, who is well known for not beating around the bush, said it would be very difficult for the party to recover before this year’s national elections. “The party recently held its internal elections, they are expected to galvanize and pull themselves together to tackle the elections this year, but now they have to deal with this issue of Kaura. This whole issue just takes away the vital energy the party needs for the national elections,” he said. He also pointed out that the entire situation suggests to the public that the DTA leaders have not taken the interests of their people seriously, but only their leadership positions. “This is the disease we have in Africa, leaders do not think about the general public’s interest, only about themselves,” he charged. “If what we are hearing is true, then Kaura can only discredit himself. He destroyed the entire legacy he built up over the years,” said Diescho. “To be dishonoured by young people and to be recalled in the last year of service, while they allowed him to serve on is really sad,” he said. Analysts point out that political party supporters tend to be more loyal to particular candidates rather than the party itself. Now threats by pro-Kaura supporters vowing not to vote for the DTA or Venaani have gone viral. “We cannot run away from the fact that individuals can change loyalty to support the leaders they believe in. It is like that in parties all over the world, but the timing in this case is unfortunate.”   By Mathias Haufiku
New Era Reporter
2014-02-03 08:48:47 4 years ago

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