DTA president McHenry Venaani says President Hage Geingob must shy away from addressing his critics during official functions and reserve his responses for political rallies and press conferences.
Venaani’s statements come in the aftermath of President Geingob’s speech during this years’ Independence day celebrations held in Rundu earlier this week. Speaking to The Patriot, Venaani said once leaders assume public offices, they must guard themselves against “pettiness”.
“When you assume public office, you must always guard against pettiness, you must always rise above pettiness. And Hage Geingob as a leader of the country must not forget that he is not only a Swapo politician but he is a leader of the country,” charged Venaani.
According to Venaani, Independence Day is freedom day that is meant for national pride, national cohesion to unify the country and move forward as opposed to addressing political agenda.
“You don’t come at Independence Day and start accusing A, B, C, D, you must rise above that as leader, he started his speech very well. Even the things that he said about people that are trying to boycott (the celebrations), he was right to do that,” added Venaani.
Furthermore, Venaani said problems only start when leaders start attacking their “critics” on platforms of national importance.
“The only problem at this point in time is that, when you use a platform to attack your critics, it creates an aroma that you are no longer preserving the importance of the day. That you are only using the day to influence your political agenda. Hage was very political during his speech on Independence Day,” said Venaani.
According the official opposition party leader Venaani, Geingob must use other platforms such as “press conferences and political rallies” to drive his political agenda.
“If he (Geingob) wants to address his critics, he must call for a press conference where he can address a Swapo rally, there are so many platforms. But national days are meant to forge a sense of patriotism with every Namibian,” noted Venaani.
Moreover, Venaani said he was also disappointed by Geingob for what he termed “flawed and wrong” during utterances the President’s speech on Independence Day.
“He (Geingob) said something very, very flawed and wrong and that is to say from 1915 up to 1966 until Swapo started the liberation struggle, there was nothing happening in this country toward the fight against land,” fumed Venaani.
Venaani described Geingob’s statement as “untrue” and said historical facts should be presented as they are.
“That is so untrue, it is in fact an emphatic lie, for a lack of a better word because he’s an elder I wouldn’t call him lying, but I am saying he’s using alternative facts. In fact, the Namibia history has it that this was the time (1915-1966) that mobilised the formation of parties, this was the time that Namibia objected to be the fifth province of South Africa; this was the time that the Herero Chiefs Council under Hosea Kutako sent petitions to the United Nations,” added Venaani.
The remarks that Geingob made on Independence Day which Venaani’s describes as “untrue” were as follows: “From 1915 to 1966, there was no armed struggle waged by Namibians to reclaim their stolen land until the International Court of Justice threw out Namibia’s justifiable case based on technicalities.”
Venaani also took to social media (Facebook) to address Geingob with regards to the historical events which transpired in Namibia before the formation of Swapo and the liberation struggle which followed in the subsequent years.
An extract from Venaani’s post read: “When we tell history we are claiming truthfulness yet we tell half-truth, how can a leader claim that between 1915 up to 1966 nothing happen until Swapo liberation struggle started. No, Mr President those are alternative facts and nothing further can be truth from such a reckless and raping of peoples contribution to our struggle. More petitions to the UN were crafted in this period objection of annexation of SWA as fifth province of the Union, the crafting of our quest for Freedom started during that period – list is endless. Stop the history of the victor many played part don’t blow your trumpet too loud,” it reads.
The DTA president further said Geingob chose a wrong platform to attack his critiques which in turn spoilt what would have been a good speech had it not focused on “settling scores”.
With the Swapo Party Elective Congress slated for November, there is a general feeling among different sectors of society that government work was being overshadowed by the highly anticipated congress.
According Venaani, Geingob is using every opportunity available to win what he labelled “battle of his life”.
“It (Congress) is overshadowing my cousin (Geingob) who is fighting the battle of his life, he is also forgetting that he is the President of the country.
All these things are meant to consolidate his political position,” concluded Venaani.