DTA condemns civil war allegations

16 Dec 2013 19:40pm
WINDHOEK, 16 DEC (NAMPA) - DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani on Monday lashed out at local magazine Insight for publishing an article insinuating that the party is contemplating undertaking an armed struggle against the Namibian Government.
Venaani called a media conference here to respond to what he termed the ‘factually incorrect and woefully misleading’ content contained in the article published under the headline ‘The 2014 Political Kick-off’ in Insight’s December 2013/January 2014 edition.
The article made reference to a meeting held between Venaani and French Ambassador to Namibia Jacqueline Bassa-Mazoni and Deputy Head of Mission Julie Scandella when they paid a courtesy call at the party’s head office three weeks ago.
According to the article, diplomatic staff from one of the European missions paid a courtesy call on the DTA to be briefed by the party on its take on the political situation heading into the 2014 elections.
The Insight article said the diplomats “were stunned when DTA executives made noises about pulling a Renamo - with reference to Mozambique’s Renamo opposition party threatening to go back to the bush and reigniting the civil war that ravaged that country for so long”.
The foreign diplomats apparently dismissed the statements as utterly misguided, and according to one, they ultimately came away with the impression of the DTA leadership as being political amateurs.
“If a journalist finds out that a political party wants to start an insurrection, you do not write this story as a secondary story, you write it as a primary story, because what you are saying is that the DTA is busy with high treason in the country,” Venaani said in reference to the cover feature which appeared on pages 16 to 18 of the magazine.
He said it is far-fetched for a journalist to hear that the DTA is allegedly busy with high treason and busy organising a rebellion, and yet the story was written as ‘a by-story about the DTA’, which he said is telling of the fact that there is no factual basis to the story.
“I want to raise one matter that is very sincere to us. For a number of years, the DTA was the second-largest organisation, and is now the third-largest organisation. So, we have played our role. The constitution of this country was (ALSO) drafted by our party,” he said.
An angry Venaani said even when the party learned of the involvement of one of its former presidents, Mishake Muyongo in the Caprivi secession issue, it immediately moved to replace him.
“It is, therefore, unthinkable that the DTA would entertain any notion that is aimed at destabilising Namibia. The party strongly believes the only means to affect political change is by means of the ballot box,” he noted.
The DTA leader informed journalists that he is concerned that the author of the article, Frederico Links, makes reference to the diplomatic staff of one of the European missions as the source of the information regarding the party’s alleged intention to embark on civil war.
Venaani, who confirmed the meeting with the delegates, said during the meeting he informed the diplomats of the party’s intention to form part of the regional political opposition delegation to travel to Mozambique with the aim of urging the Renamo leadership to cease hostilities as a matter of urgency and to return to the negotiating table.
Nevertheless, he said, the DTA will pursue the matter with the French Foreign Ministry and will lodge a formal complaint against the French Ambassador to Namibia and the Deputy Head of Mission.
“DTA’s point of view is that these senior diplomats have revealed themselves to be irresponsible and unfit to hold the offices they occupy,” he said.
The party will also lodge a formal complaint against both Links and Insight with the Media Ombudsman of Namibia.
Venaani said both the institution and the author had fallen short of the Media Code of Ethics, as the DTA were not afforded a right of reply, neither was the party contacted to corroborate the claims.
Meanwhile, Kasiku Siteketa, who is responsible for sales and advertising at Insight, informed the media conference Links could not make it to the conference or respond to calls by the DTA as he was out of town to attend to personal matters.
Venaani, however, insisted that the author comes clean with the source of his information and in addition, should retract the statements he made.
“The DTA aims to move Namibia forward and calls on the country’s media fraternity to play its part in this regard by reporting accurately and factually,” the DTA leader urged.