Leave Dr Sam Nujoma Alone


The dsparaging attitude of some Namibians towards the founding father, Dr Sam Nujoma, and the continuous flow of vitriol against him by the media, in the recent past, has forced me to pen this letter, not only in defence of the founding father but also to try and request my fellow Namibians to maintain a degree of decorum while communicating with senior citizens. This kind of behaviour is highly deplorable and definitely not the treatment befitting such a legendary hero. At the outset, let me make one thing clear, I’m not trying to argue on or justify any of the remarks made by the founding father on any issue. All I’m trying to do is to remonstrate with these individuals about their mind-set, in this regard. One has to concede that we are now in an extremely dynamic era where tolerance levels amongst human beings are at their lowest, be it the Americans or the terrorists from the Middle-East or our own students. When things don’t go our way, we tend to abandon our sense of moral and ethical proprieties and let the animal inside us take charge. However, rather than digressing into some psychological argument, let me get back to the main issue here. Why are we so determined to tarnish the image of the greatest hero of our land? I mean, Dr Nujoma is indisputably the most valuable gem in the Namibian coffers. With all due respects to NamDeb, all the diamonds mined by them fade in comparison to this great human jewel. Every nation has its heroes. These heroes were human beings too and, like other humans, they also had their shortcomings – Nelson Mandela, Mao Tse Tung, Mahatma Gandhi… The list is endless. However, these heroes have something in common. Despite their inherent weaknesses, they are/were cherished not only by their own people but by people all over the world. Dr Nujoma, belonging to a similar class, commands the respect and admiration of people around the world. Nevertheless, the poignant fact remains that the entire Namibian nation watches in silence as a few vested interests, in this country, constantly endeavour to taint the image of this legendary figure. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to remind these Namibians that it is because of this very individual that they are now in a position to freely express their opinions. Had it not been for this founding father of our great nation, we’d still be persecuted and most probably prosecuted for expressing ourselves in this manner. One does concur that times are tough and sometimes the comments and/or advice of our elders may sound harsh or unsympathetic and are often provocative. Nevertheless, more often than not, these elders do tend to point out harsh realities which have now become an integral part of most of our lives. Okay, they may go off at a tangent once in a while, but that is no excuse to try and publicly mortify such individuals. I’ve always considered myself to be an ardent supporter of freedom of speech and expression. However, the concept of using the right of freedom of speech and expression to humiliate our elders publicly or otherwise, is still alien to me. Ostensibly, I may be too old-fashioned or perhaps I haven’t been susceptible to what we term “Western influences,” but I do steadfastly believe in the fact that no line of thought, whether ‘Western’ or ‘African’ can justify the denigration of our elderly citizens, and Dr Nujoma happens to be the father of the Namibian family. How then can anybody condone all these invectives against such an illustrious individual? It’s not sycophancy or political ambitions that make me pen this letter, but the poignant state of affairs, vis-ÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚ -vis our founding father, that forces me to put my point of view across. I loved and respected my father a lot and, regardless of whether he was right or wrong, I knew my limits every time he scolded me or told me what exactly he thought of me. Now is it so difficult for us Namibians to maintain that degree of respect for our founding father? One does realize that it will be quite impossible to try and rationally argue with the host of cantankerous critics or alter their line of thought in this regard. However, I’d like to humbly request the said individuals to either leave Dr Nujoma alone or approach any issue, relating to him, with a degree of decorum and propriety reflective of our glorious culture. Ashok Iyer Ondangwa