Nam Integrity Non-Negotiable – Pohamba

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Katima Mulilo President Hifikepunye Pohamba has said the territorial integrity of Namibia is not negotiable and called upon all Namibians to reject reactionary tendencies and manifestations of tribalism and secessionist ideas. Pohamba made the call on Saturday as he addressed thousands of Namibians who flocked to Katima Mulilo in the Caprivi Region to commemorate Heroes’ Day. “The territory of Namibia shall forever be defined as starting from Impalila Island in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Kunene River in the north to the Orange River in the south, and no person or organization will change that.” Pohamba said the Namibian people owe it to the martyrs of the revolution to remain united and with commitment and fortitude create a strong, united and democratic society for which they sacrificed their lives. “We have a historic and national responsibility to ensure that Namibia remains sovereign and independent forever.” The President’s speech was in reference to the 1999 attempt by a group of people to break away the Caprivi Region from Namibia. He said it was regrettable that some politicians misled people to tear away Namibia for their own selfish reasons. “These politicians were part and parcel of the democratic process that led to the drafting of the Namibian Constitution and at no point during the negotiations did any politician dispute the fact that Namibia will be a unitary state.” Pohamba at times appeared irritated and said that Mishake Muyongo, who led the rebellion in 1999 and misled people to take up arms against their own people, had fully agreed with the framers of the Namibian Constitution in respect of the unitary character of Namibia. The President also quoted Muyongo as saying: “Namibia will be a unitary, sovereign and democratic state. A unitary Namibia is a state that abides by the principles of territorial integrity and rejection of secession.” At the same occassion the President stressed that the Caprivi Region, which was official host to this year’s Heroes’ Day commemorations, played a vital role in the liberation struggle. After the battle of Omugulugwombashe on August 26, 1966 in the Omusati Region, Namibia’s armed struggle shifted to other parts of the country including the Caprivi. He added that for many years, the eastern front, which covered the Caprivi, was the only theatre of military operations by the gallant combatants of Plan. “Less than five kilometers to the northeast of where I am standing, one of Plan’s greatest commanders, the late Comrade Tobias Hainyeko, was killed in action at Namwi Island along the Zambezi River, in 1967.” Pohamba, who is also the Swapo Party vice-president, noted that the Caprivi Region is home to many heroes and heroines. He cited former Swapo Vice-President Brendan Simbwaye as a classical example, and said Simbwaye rejected the Bantustan system, which was imposed by the colonial regime of South Africa, because he stood for the total liberation of Namibia. “Comrade Simbwaye was arrested in 1964 at Mafulo in Caprivi Region and was one of Namibia’s first political prisoners for nine years. Simbwaye disappeared while in the custody of the colonial apartheid regime. “To us Comrade Simbwaye is one of the greatest heroes of the Namibian struggle for national independence since he never wavered and he died for the total liberation of Namibia, rather than compromise the territorial integrity of his motherland.” Pohamba paid tribute to Greenwell Matongo and noted that Matongo for many years was a political commissar of Plan until he sacrificed his life in exile before Namibia’s independence. The President also mentioned former Minister of Works, Transport and Communication Richard Kabajani, whom he called an illustrious son of the soil. “Kabajani served as the deputy secretary of defence for Swapo and his patriotic contribution to Namibia’s freedom will stand the test of time.” In his conclusion Pohamba briefly paid tribute to the other heroes and heroines who were not Swapo members. “We once again pay tribute to our heroes and heroines such as Mandume ya Ndemufayo, Ipumbu ya Shilongo, Hendrik Witbooi, Samuel Maherero, Nicodemus Kahimemua, Nehale Lya Mpingana, Kakyurukaze Mungunda and many others. ” The occasion was attended by various Cabinet ministers, deputy ministers, members of parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, traditional chiefs and thousands of Namibians. The ministers included Minister without Portfolio Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, Minister of Regional, Local Government, Housing and Rural Development John Pandeni, Minister of National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa, Minister of Defence Charles Namoloh and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Marco Hausiku. Other activities on the day included the inspection of the parade by Pohamba as well as cultural performances.