Democratic Turnhalle Alliance

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Democratic Turnhalle Alliance
President McHenry Venaani
Founded November 1977
Ideology Conservatism
Political position Centre-right
International affiliation International Democratic Union (associate)
Colors Blue and Red
Seats in the National Assembly
2 / 72
Local councillors
16 / 327
Politics of Namibia
Political parties

The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) (German: Demokratische Turnhallenallianz) is an amalgamation of political parties in Namibia, registered as one singular party for representation purposes. In coalition with the United Democratic Front, it formed the official opposition in Parliament until the parliamentary elections in 2009. The party currently only holds two seats in in the Namibian National Assembly. McHenry Venaani is president of the DTA.

The DTA is an associate member of the International Democrat Union, a transnational grouping of national political parties generally identified with political conservatism.


The DTA was formed in November 1977 as a result of the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference held in Windhoek from 1975 to 1977 as a counterbalance and main opposition to the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO). Participants of the Constitutional Conference walked out of the Constitutional Committee over the National Party's insistence on retaining some apartheid legislation in the new constitution. Both conference and DTA are named after the Turnhalle building (German, old Turners hall) in Windhoek where the conference was held.[1]

The DTA won the 1978 South-West African legislative election by a landslide, claiming 41 of the 50 seats. This was largely due to "widespread intimidation"[2] and the presence of South African troops, particularly in the north of Namibia.[3] The subsequent interim government, consisting of a National Assembly and a Council of Ministers, lasted until 18 January 1983 when South Africa again assumed full administrative authority over South-West Africa.[4]


Mishake Muyongo led the party through the early years of independence, and in the 1994 presidential election he placed second, behind President Sam Nujoma, with 23.08% of the vote.[5] After Muyongo expressed support for Caprivi secession in 1998, he and the party he represented in the alliance, the United Democratic Party, was suspended from the DTA in August 1998 at an extraordinary meeting of the party's executive committee.[6] Muyongo fled Namibia and was replaced as DTA President by Katuutire Kaura, who called for Muyongo to be brought back and put on trial.[7] Kaura served for three elective terms. In September 2013, he was defeated by McHenry Venaani.[8]

Election results[edit]

In the parliamentary election held on 15–16 November 2004, the party won 5% of the popular vote and 4 out of 78 seats.

Member parties of the DTA[edit]

Founding members[edit]

The following parties participated at the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference and subsequently formed the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance:[9]

Later changes of membership[edit]

  • United Democratic Party (UDP, Lozi), member of the DTA since UDP's foundation in 1985, expelled from DTA in 1998 due to its support of the secession of the Caprivi.[10]
  • In September 2003, the National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO) withdrew from the DTA, accusing the party of failing to work for Herero interests.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "Chronologie der Geschichte Namibias, 1977" [Chronology of Namibian History, 1977] (in German). Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Okoth, Assa (2006). A History of Africa: African nationalism and the de-colonisation process [1915-1995] 2. East African Publishers. p. 195. ISBN 9966253580. 
  3. ^ Dierks, Klaus. "Chronology of Namibian History, 1978". Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Nohlen, Dieter; Krennerich, Michael; Thibaut, Bernhard (1999). Elections in Africa: a data handbook. Oxford University Press. p. 660. ISBN 0-19-829645-2. Retrieved 13 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Political Parties of the World (6th edition, 2005), ed. Bogdan Szajkowski, page 428.
  6. ^ "Namibia: Opposition party reportedly suspends leader", SAPA news agency (, August 25, 1998.
  7. ^ "Namibia: Party leader says ex-opposition leader Muyongo should return, be tried", NBC Radio, Windhoek (, October 31, 1998.
  8. ^ Immanuel, Shinovene (9 September 2013). "Youth take over at DTA". The Namibian. 
  9. ^ Kangueehi, Kuvee (22 October 2004). "DTA ‘Down but Not Out’". New Era. Retrieved 26 April 2010. 
  10. ^ Staff writer (11 September [2006]). "Caprivi Political Party Declared Illegal". IRIN (via afrol News). Retrieved 25 March 2011.