I was DTA, not PDM – Kaura

Former DTA leader Katuutire Kaura has joined the ruling Swapo Party.

14 November 2017 | Politics

Former DTA leader Katuutire Kaura said he was left without a political home when the country's main opposition party decided to rebrand as the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) a few weeks ago.

That, he said, prompted him to seek refuge outside the party by joining Swapo. Kaura said he was never consulted when his former party embarked on a rebranding exercise.

“On 4 November this year, DTA was abolished and they came up with PDM. After that I was left without a party,” said the 76-year-old politician.

“Now that DTA is no more I was free to join any party of my choice. Since I believe in the principles of President Hage Geingob of building the Namibian house, I decided to join Swapo.”

Kaura's defection to Swapo was announced during a campaign event at Grootfontein where Geingob addressed delegates and the ruling party's faithful ahead of this month's watershed elective congress.

Geingob is one of the three candidates vying for the Swapo presidency. The other two candidates are veteran politicians Nahas Angula and Jerry Ekandjo.

PDM national chairperson Jennifer van den Heever told Namibian Sun that Kaura never resigned from their party.

Geingob told the gathering that Kaura had informed him via a text message that he was joining the ruling party, which he had sharply criticised during his days in the opposition.

Kaura lost out on the DTA presidency to youthful leader McHenry Venaani in 2013 during an elective central committee meeting.

He later turned against his own party by publicly criticising the new leadership. He was later hauled before a disciplinary hearing and expelled from the party in February 2014.

He also lost his seat in the National Assembly but successfully challenged his expulsion in court and was reinstated as a DTA parliamentarian and by default as party member.

Kaura left the National Assembly at the end of his term in March 2015 and was immediately named as special advisor to the late Kunene governor Angelika Muharukua.

Van den Heever said her office was yet to receive Kaura's letter of resignation, saying the party only learned of his resignation on social media.

“We do not know why he joined Swapo. In fact he left the party in 2013 when he lost the party presidency to Venaani, which was done in a democratic way.

“Ever since then we have been inviting him to our party events, but he never attended,” Van den Heever claimed.

“As PDM we are wishing Honourable Kaura all the best in his future endeavours. It is his democratic right to join Swapo. We have nothing much to say about it.”

Saw it coming

In 2014 following his short-lived expulsion from the then DTA, Kaura hinted in an interview with Namibian Sun that he was free to join a political party of his choice. He never ruled out the possibility of joining Swapo.

“When you dismiss me from the party, you've also dismissed my wife. All 14 people in my house have registered to vote in this year's election but they certainly won't vote for the DTA which I am not a member of. From that perspective, the party has effectively dismissed 14 of its members,” he was quoted as saying.

There have been mixed reactions to Kaura's defection to Swapo, with some labelling his move as “politics of the belly”, while others claimed he was eyeing the vacant Kunene governor's position.


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