The president of the official opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) McHenry Kanjonokere Venaani (42) says one thing people don’t know about him is that he thanks God daily as he has undergone the worst human surgery ever.
“I underwent the worst human operation which is open-heart surgery and my recovery was unbelievably superb on account of my age and fitness. The pain one undergoes and learning to walk again is an experience. It delayed me a bit to finish a couple of things on time. But besides unexplainable chest pains, I am as healthy as a springbok,” elaborated Venaani.
FAMILY, EDUCATION AND
WHAT TICKS HIM OFF
Venaani has been married to his lifelong partner Cloudina Venaani since 2005 and together they have two daughters. “I am married to two people, one is Cloudina my dear wife, the other my study, where I spend any time I have reading books and consulting key stakeholders,” said Venaani.
“I was privileged to work while in high school as research assistant at the Namibia Development Trust and SIAPAC, which gave me a valuable lesson to always research any matter and to have empirical evidence informed by sources. It has helped me a great deal since I never bring a matter without researching it.”
Born in Windhoek, Venaani is a graduate of Dawid Bezuidenhout High School in Khomasdal, Windhoek. He studied at the University of Wolverhampton, England, UK.
On any chilled relaxing given day, Venaani prefers to have tea without sugar or with stevia which is a substitute for sugar. But at the end of the day, spending some quality time with his wife and daughters is what seals it for him.
“The first thing I do when I enter my home is to look for my girls and start to tease them since most of the time I am not with them, so my attention goes to them and that’s how we bond and I give them my love. They think I am a funny, yet strict guy,” Venaani narrated.
The suitable type of parenting he has implemented for his girls is to raise them in a hard-up way.
“I treat them as unprivileged children for them to realise the hardships of life. I have also adopted children who receive the same attention. I am a grandfather too, and my grandchild thinks she owns me. Her name is Dolodolo and she thinks that must be my name but we all know she has lost that bid. I am a family man and my wife’s cooking is unparalleled and we always enjoy her culinary expertise,” he admitted.
What annoys him more than anything else is dishonesty and façades. “I am annoyed by lies and corruption. Many people have the power to change the lives of others but greed dictates their output and that annoys my soul. If you can change others' lives, don't let them wait, please do it,” encouraged and strongly urged Venaani.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF McHENRY
Venaani is an avid reader who has taken it upon himself to consistently read books that interest him and being the politician that he is, one can somewhat picture him with books obviously related to politics.
“My day entails working and reading. I am currently enticed on an ancient book called The Federalist Papers, which is a book series by James Madison. This book details how the American Constitution and democracy evolved, and I must say, this book is quite suitable for lawmakers,” hinted Venaani.
He also spends a lot of time running the party and ultimately performing his national duties, which eventually take him into the wee morning hours, roughly around 03h00 am. Another activity that he is fond of is keeping fit. “I regularly jog to stay fit and to focus. It’s a pity that due to Covid-19 we can’t attend gym sessions.”
With such a busy schedule, one wonders what a person like Venaani gets up to once he takes off his politics hat – I am sure many will ponder whether he does indeed take off that hat. Does ennui ever strike in McHenry Venaani’s world?
“I never get bored as I remain in the service of the people – there is always something to think about. My other life is farming and it exalts my soul when I am amongst animals and tilling the soil and I am an ardent horse rider.”
BORN INTO POLITICS
Venaani has a flawless exposure to politics and has been enjoying the bug. “I was born into politics, I am a product and consequence of its role. My mother was raised by her father’s elder brother Chief Kapuuo. My father, on the other hand, met my mother at his leader’s house and I was eventually born,” detailed Venaani.
Between the ages of five to seven years old, Venaani was exposed to politics through discussions at home as his father was a leading figure and chief mobiliser.
“I started a lifelong companionship with my elders as a great ardent listener – it became a part of my life. I was part of the student strikes of 1987/8 which emboldened me to join student politics. And as they say, the rest is history.”
Venaani disclosed that leadership in him is a gift from the heavens. “It was always said to me by elders that I was leadership material at a tender age. I joined the youth league and put pressure on the then leadership of the party to reform under president Muyongo, and was elected to the party CC at age 18, the rest is history.”
The accelerative leader has been a member of the National Assembly from 2002 to 2010, in 2014, and since 2015. At the time of his appointment in 2002, he was Namibia’s youngest member of parliament, at 25 years old.
THE BOULEVARD TO THE PRESIDENCY
With aspirations, dreams and hopes, it wouldn’t run past a stern supporter of Venaani to come across the news that the lawmaker once upon a time had ambitions of being a judge while growing up.
He said: “My lifelong wish was to become a judge had I not been into politics. With new international dynamics, the trade laws captured my imagination, serving at ACP/ EU negotiations as well as African Parliament Chair on Committee on Trade.”
His next wish is to be the next president of Namibia and continuously cater to people he serves. “My next vocation is to become president of Namibia,” he firmly and confidently says.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
To those who have the desire to follow in Venaani’s footsteps and pursue a career in politics, he said a good leader has three important traits that will enable that individual to effortlessly conduct their duties to communities they intend on serving.
“A good leader must always be a good listener and have ethics of a high level of integrity and honesty and amongst all virtues, the love of people. Also, one can never buy or study experience because, without it, one can’t lead effectively. If you have an opportunity to understudy wisdom and leadership, please do that because hindsight is the best teaching master.’’ – firstname.lastname@example.org