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Promoting democracy in Namibia

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Namibia under a DTA government

The DTA of Namibia has issued its 2009 manifesto in two formats – a short leaflet outlining key policies and a more detailed eight-page publication.
As part of its shorter version manifesto, under the theme “You Deserve Better”, the DTA says: “If elected to government it will actively address the situation in which our young people find themselves – ineffective education and unemployment that leads to growing poverty and a lack of hope for the future.”
In the pamphlet the party tackles five key policy areas: Unemployment and poverty, crime and insecurity, social services, education, and youth.
The party says it will tackle poverty and create employment by adding value to natural resources before exporting them and by employing Namibians in the building industry (a clear reference to the current government practice of employing Chinese and North Korean workers).
The party also proposes a number of employment schemes to be developed in conjunction with the private sector:

• A timber industry in the north-east
• A leather industry in the south
• Building the Neckertal dam
• Creating underground reservoirs in the north

The longer document opens with a mission statement and vision, saying the fundamental aim of the party is to advance and maintain peace and prosperity and to achieve national unity based on multi-party democracy.
This is followed by a list of policy priority areas the party intends to purse in the next five years if elected in power.
Accountability –The DTA party promises to ensure maximum accountability in ministries, government institutions and government-funded organizations. Also, it says it is committed to the prevention and elimination of all forms of corruption and nepotism in politics, public administration and private enterprise, and to the promotion and support of an effective and competent civil service.
Economy – On attracting investment, the party proposes to offer competitive financial incentives such as tax relief compared with those offered by neighbouring countries. On fiscal policy, the opposition party says its tax policy would be based on the principles of justice, neutrality, and understandability. The party promises to support both the formal and informal sectors of commerce and industry by providing tax concessions, investment incentives, technical support, and export promotion. The DTA would insist on the economic viability of parastatals. The party would ensure the Auditor General is responsible for the elimination of all forms of corruption. The DTA considers the private sector as the most important vehicle for the development of trade and industry.
Agriculture – The DTA says its agriculture policy aims at developing the agricultural industry towards the development of secondary and tertiary agro-based industries
Land reform – The DTA intends to evaluate prospective farmers after a probationary period before land is finally allocated and to resettle farmers. The DTA refers readers to its website to read the party’s comprehensive land policy.
Mining – The party plans to implement an active exploration programme to secure continuity and offer a variety of incentives to promote foreign investment and the establishment of new mines. Also, the DTA promises to investigate the building of a nuclear power plant to provide electricity to Namibia and add value to the uranium industry.
Sea fisheries – Measures proposed include: granting of fishing rights on a fair basis; allocating quotas based on, among others, viability and economic efficiency of the recipient; endorsing the payment of levies on actual catches; considering royalties on quotas based on profitability and viability. Others policies include: implementing effective policing of the exclusive economic zone; introducing penalties commensurate with the severity of the offence; dealing with pirating according to international and national law; stimulating reinvestment in the fishing industry.
Education – The DTA says it will introduce pre-primary schooling at every primary school, re-introduce a four-term school year, and establish a school of architectural technology in Rehoboth. The opposition party says basic education will be free and compulsory up to the age of 16-years or Grade 7. However, secondary and tertiary education will be neither free nor compulsory but the party promises to provide a number of bursaries to meet the demand for education.
Community development and social justice – DTA promises to fight unemployment among the youth and poverty by: providing skills on a broad front by introducing skills training at schools throughout the country and linking this to training to specific work schemes. To address problems of the elderly, the party promises to spend more money on housing for the poor and increase the old-age pension by an unspecified amount.
Housing – The party promises to provide all first time home owners with a subsidy of not less than five-percent on property valued at not less than N$340,000 and reduce the housing backlog list of 67,000.
Health – The DTA pledges to spend more money on upgrading and maintaining clinics and hospitals; spend more money on selecting; training and motivating medical staff throughout the country; initiate a government medical aid scheme to assist low-income household. Further, the party intends to establish a Namibian-owned drug manufacturer and train 65 students in biochemistry.
Labour and manpower development – The party says it will pursue a policy of ‘Namibians first’ in accordance with the principles of Affirmative Action as set out in the constitution, but will simultaneously apply the principles of merit related to foreign specialized skills and ensure the transfer of skills and technology.
As is the case with most manifestos, the DTA is sketchy about how it would fund its proposals, although it does say in the pamphlet that taxpayers’ funds will be used to fund services and not luxuries. In addition, inefficient parastatals will be privatised (although if they are inefficient this would suggest they would simply close and shed jobs if privatised), corruption will be curbed, and grandiose building projects will not be supported by public funds.
Although brief, the pamphlet is certainly the more impressive of the two documents, with the longer manifesto being somewhat wordy and boringly presented. The DTA also refers to the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) as Southern African Development Conference twice in the longer document.

Who is the party’s leader?
The party has been led by Katuutire Kaura since 1998. He will be the DTA’s presidential candidate.

Does the party have a website
Yes - http://www.dtaofnamibia.org.na

More about the party
The DTA of Namibia was formed in 1977 by participants who walked out of the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference. The party participated in the interim governments prior to Independence and served as the official opposition from 1990 to 2005.

Standout policies
• Subsidise first-time home owners
• Insist on viability of parastatals
• Ensure employment of Namibians in building industry
• Investigate building a nuclear power plant
• Increase old age pension

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Election Watch is a project of the Institute for Public Policy Research in Windhoek, Namibia. Election Watch is funded by the European Union and the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives.