Tjitendero’s Death a Loss to SADC

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The passing away of the late Dr MosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Tjitendero is not only a loss to Namibia, but to the entire Southern African region for his outstanding contribution towards the establishment of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF). As a brainchild of the late first Speaker of the National Assembly, the SADC Parliamentary Forum was launched in Windhoek in 1996. The aim of the regional body is for all SADC member states to work towards a transparent parliamentary system through mass participation and enhancing democracy. Speaking at the memorial service at Parliament Gardens on Friday, Botswana MP and Vice-Chairperson of the SADC PF Gobopang Lefhoko said that he played a vital role in bringing parliaments closer to the people. His passion for developing parliamentary democracy is gaining momentum in the region, said Lefhoko. “Its quite unfortunate that we lost him at a crucial time when the parliamentary forum is reforming itself. Dr Tjitendero has not lived to see his vision fulfilled,” he said. The best way to remember him is to emulate his profound qualities. His untimely death is therefore seen as a hard blow for an institution he strived to build for ten years of his life. The signing of the SADC Treaty in Windhoek August 1992 was not only a matter of transforming the region from being a loose regional grouping into a legal entity, but ushered in the spirit of the treaty establishing the African Economic Community adopted by the OAU Heads of State in June 1991. It is against this background that the first Speaker of the Namibian National Assembly envisaged a regional parliamentary forum to, in his own words, “familiarise the peoples of SADC countries with the aims and objectives of SADC.” Among the other objectives that the late Tjitendero enunciated for a regional forum of parliamentarians in support of the SADC ideals were the promotion of the principles of human rights and democracy, provision of a forum for matters of concern, to facilitate networking and popularise the concepts of development and cooperation as well as inclusive participation of members of the community. Thus, the overall aim and vision that Tjitendero had was to always encourage effective implementation of SADC policies and provision of services in the region. As a team player, the late Tjitendero never worked alone, which is known by many like those in Zambia where he had spent 12 years of his life with his family. “We have indeed been robbed of a pillar that would ensure a powerful legislative in SADC. He stood as firm believer in participatory democracy and will be remembered by many,” added the Botswana Vice-Chairperson of the SADC PF. Besides his ventures regionally, the late Tjitendero was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) from 1999 to 2003. In 2001 Tjitendero as Vice-President of the IPU Executive Committee presided over a UN-IPU meeting at the UN headquarters in New York. Furthermore, he was also the Joint President of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association branch in Namibia. Meanwhile, on Saturday the thousands of mourners who attended the State funeral of Tjitendero felt that Heroes’ Acre is the befitting site for him as revolutionary hero of the country. With a 21-gun salute touching moments were felt as Sandy the widow cried softly as the casket was lowered into the grave. Affectionately her close and best friend Tadia Rice and Mose’s spiritual Grandmother Elfrieda Tjivikua wiped away her tears. Observation was that both masters of ceremony Hage Geingob and Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah frequently consulted the widow on how she wanted the proceedings to go. Even the President and Founding Father were given their time to lay their wreaths earlier with the widow’s consent. Kerii, the eldest son stood by firmly and watched his father’s grave as it was being filled up after which the widow Sandy placed her wreath on top of the grave. Towards the end, with comforting words and condolences the family left, leaving behind a grave completely covered with colourful flowers – that of the legendary and visionary son of the soil, the late MosÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© Penaani Tjitendero.