Democratic Turnhalle Alliance
|Democratic Turnhalle Alliance|
Demokratiese Turnhalle Alliansie
|International affiliation||International Democratic Union|
|Colors||Blue and red|
|Politics of Namibia
The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) (German: Demokratische Turnhallenallianz) (Afrikaans: Demokratiese Turnhalle Alliansie) 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 holds five seats in in the Namibian National Assembly. McHenry Venaani is president of the DTA.
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.
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" and the presence of South African troops, particularly in the north of Namibia. The subsequent interim government, consisting of a National Assembly and a Council of Ministers, lasted until 18 January 1983 when, due to continued interference by the South African Administrator-General the Council of Ministers resigned. On 18 January 1983 South Africa accepted the dissolution of both the legislative and the executive body without elections being scheduled, and again assumed full administrative authority over South-West Africa. This void lasted until 17 June 1985 when the Transitional Government of National Unity (TGNU) was installed by the South African Administrator-General. Its legislative and executive actions were subject to South African approval, with newly appointed administrator-general Louis Pienaar having the veto right on all legislation to be passed. The TGNU thus again was a puppet government of apartheid South Africa that sought moderate reform but was unable to secure recognition by the United Nations.
The DTA dominated this government, albeit not with absolute majority: In the 62-seat National Assembly the DTA occupied 22, and five smaller parties got 8 seats each. On 1 March 1989 TGNU was suspended along the terms of United Nations Security Council Resolution 435 for it to give way to an independent government, determined by the November 1989 parliamentary elections. SWAPO won the elections, the DTA came distant second.
Upon its foundation, Clemens Kapuuo became president of the DTA, and Dirk Mudge served as chairman. After Kapuuo's assassination in 1978 Cornelius Ndjoba became president on 3 July. The position of the vice president was established on that day with Ben Africa as first incumbent.
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. 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. Muyongo fled Namibia and was replaced as DTA President by Katuutire Kaura, who called for Muyongo to be brought back and put on trial. Kaura served for three elective terms. In September 2013, he was defeated by McHenry Venaani.
Member parties of the DTA
The following parties participated at the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference and subsequently formed the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance:
- South West African Labour Party
- Bushman Alliance (BA)
- Caprivi delegation
- Namibia Democratic Turnhalle Party (NDTP, Nama)
- National Democratic Party (NDP, Ovambo)
- National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO, Herero), withdrawn from DTA in September 2003
- Rehoboth DTA Party (RDTAP), formerly the Rehoboth Baster Association
- Republican Party (RP, White Namibians), disbanded
- Tswana Alliance, later Seoposengwe Party (Tswana)
- South West Africa People's Democratic United Front (SWAP-DUF, Damara)
- National Democratic Unity Party (NDUP, Kavango)
- Christian Democrat Union (CDU, Coloured)
Later changes of membership
- 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.
- In September 2003, the National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO) withdrew from the DTA, accusing the party of failing to work for Herero interests.
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- Political Parties of the World (6th edition, 2005), ed. Bogdan Szajkowski, page 428.
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- "Democratic Elections in Namibia. An International Experiment in Nation Building" (PDF). National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. June 1989. p. 12.
- DTA of Namibia Official Web Site
- "Namibian Voters Deny Total Power to SWAPO," by Michael Johns, The Wall Street Journal, November 19, 1989.