WINDHOEK - A complete overhaul of the DTA of Namibia’s identity is on the cards following its dismal performance in past elections.
At the height of its popularity in 1989, the DTA boasted 21 parliamentary seats and was a power to be reckoned with but its seats in the National Assembly have shrunk to two.
DTA president McHenry Venaani told New Era yesterday there have been outcries from its members countrywide who want the DTA rebranded and transformed into a more robust party.
Venaani says a decision whether to rebrand the party or not will be made in December.
“There is huge political demand for the party to be rebranded. As party leader, I will during our post-election analysis meeting raise the matter to try and convince my congress that we should rebrand the party,” said the young politician who even has admirers from other political parties.
Venaani said the party would on 15 December decide whether or not to rebrand itself.
Former DTA president Mishake Muyongo’s involvement in the attempted secession of the Zambezi Region had an adverse effect on the public’s perception of the party. Muyongo was the DTA president between 1991-1998.
“DTA was formed as a pre-independent party, and one cannot deny the historical attachment of the party, whether you want to defend it or not, it played a role especially in the interim government. Personally, had I been the president that time I would have been hesitant to join an interim government,” said Venaani.
He fears rebranding before the polls could “confuse” voters and impact on electoral share.
“As you know most of our members are conservatives and rebranding now could confuse them. There is no way I will forsake my old members just for the sake of getting new members. The other thing is that the current law does also not allow parties to rename themselves, so this can only be done in the new Electoral Law,” he said.
According to Venaani: “The party will improve if rebranded because DTA has done its part and brought the implementation of Resolution 435 and participated in a number of elections, but now it is time to move into the phase of fighting for economic emancipation.”
“People argue that Swapo also has an old name. My argument is that Swapo is the majority therefore they are not forced to rebrand because they are the majority, but should they lose power, believe me the question of rebranding will become relevant,” he added.
“I am sure, like myself, our members want to see a transformed organisation that is post-independent looking at challenges ahead as opposed to having a party from the past that has not been doing well.
“I give political assurance to the nation that we will transform DTA into something more robust, bigger which has the attributes of a modern party but right now the timing is a challenge. We will allow broad debate through the party and every person will be brought on board to make their contribution – both new and old members,” he said.
By Mathias Haufiku"