Reflections of Veteran Politician

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By Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro WINDHOEK Although the enemy has been strategically defeated with the attainment of Namibia’s independence on March 21, 1991, the remnants of capitalism have not been defeated, says Swanu of Namibia second vice president in the history of Namibia’s oldest political party, Hitjevi Veii. The ex-Robben Island prisoner made these observations in a rare glimpse and synopsis of his time on Robben Island during the party’s fundraising event at the Kovambo Nujoma Community Hall in Windhoek on Saturday evening. He said reversing Apartheid’s social and economic injustices through Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) still has to produce the desired effect. “While the intention of Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment was to reduce the imbalances created by Apartheid colonialism, these concepts are being hijacked by ruling elites to destroy our much anticipated class struggle.” He said Swanu cherishes an egalitarian society in which the Namibian people have unrestricted access to land, health and education. However, Namibia today sees the gap between blacks and blacks widening. According to Veii, most of the ex-Robben Island prisoners have had no accommodation within the Government with the exception of one, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo who had several ministerial positions before he retired in 2004. He said the “few head of cattle” that the Swapo Party of Namibia presumably gave its members to live on did not help much. “Even the money from the Veteran War Fund is not enough to live on,” he said. Veii said former political prisoners were not demanding compensation for their contribution to the struggle but acknowledgement and the necessary assistance. “Today most of those who were on the side of the colonial government and jumped ship at midnight are enjoying what they opposed,” he said. While they are also entitled to a share of the Namibian cake, Veii said the country must balance its priorities to satisfy all its citizens. He said ruling party membership cards should not be the only condition to get employment and benefits. “Since we have rejected a one-party state and opted for a multi-party democracy, we should live up to that noble idea of One Namibia One Nation and that should be a driving force now and in the future.” Veii said race relations, as attested to by incidents of blacks being killed after being mistaken for “baboons” and some citizens waving placards with “kill all whites” messages, have not improved a lot since the time of his arrest in December 1966. Thus, there is a need to go back to the drawing board and address the issue “of class struggle within the broader context of humanity, democracy, caring, solidarity, social justice, equality, rule of law and justice for all”.