Our History Needs Objectivity

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Thank you for allowing me space in your paper in order for me to air my views on some never-ending heated debates which seem to be favoured topics of some “community activists” and different other regular participants on radio phone-in programmes. My discussion will be on “The politics of politics” and” the “politics of war”. If my countrymen and women base their arguments on deliberate distortions, it will still be their “democratic right” but it will do damage to the innocent and ignorant. So, objectivity should be upheld and facts should be stated. One favourable topic of some of my friends is that Swapo and Sam Nujoma were not responsible for the achievement of independence in this country. The argument goes that Sam Nujoma and his Swapo should by no means be given credit for the victory of the struggle for the independence of Namibia and that each and everyone played an equal role. Fine. To my surprise, some of the leading members of the debate against President Nujoma and the ruling party were part of the action as guerrillas themselves who used to sing proudly loud and clear about for example, “We are soldiers of Sam”, “Sam lead us to freedom”, “Sam give us freedom”, etc. But how all of a sudden? Fine. Let me give some illustrations which might provoke some sense. By this illustration I am trying to explain as to why some things are identified with people etc., for example, Sam Nujoma’s party, Lenin’s party, etc. It looks like to some people they take it literally. Illustration one: for a fact some of these compatriots are ‘Aandonga’. ‘Aandonga’ are generally referred to as ‘Aandonga ya Nangolo’ or ‘Ondonga ya Nangolo’, literally meaning Aandonga or Ondonga of or belonging to Nangolo. Does this mean that ‘Aandonga’ are the property of Nangolo? Or when people refer themselves to be soldiers of Sam, are they private property of Sam? Or when the English language is referred to as the language of the queen, a private property of the queen? When one hears of the Hitler’s wars and the cold wars, were these wars fought solely by Hitler or was the cold war cold? No man. Let people be sensible. President Nujoma and his party could not have fought alone but there must be a difference between practical action and armchair action. Of course, all fought but when we talk about Sam Nujoma having brought freedom could this be by his collective contribution, personal contribution and even through his position as a top leader with some responsibilities, influence, prominence etc. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and depicting it from the roof of the tallest building in town for all to see is worse. One compatriot announced that the “lie’ about Swapo having liberated this country through the barrel of the gun and that Swapo had bases in Namibia should be stopped. According to him, Swapo only had Ongulumbashe base. Diplomacy, religion, politics, medical science, the military and all other fields have their own vocabulary. When a soldier is talking about, “so many enemy troops were killed or wounded,” “enemy positions were destroyed,” the “situation is under control,” “it was just a tactical retreat,” “we are in charge of the area”, “it was just a tactical retreat,” “we are in charge of the area,” etc., he/she talks in military terms. President Samora Machel once said that when one talks about being in charge of the area means whose password is popular in the area or whose password is being followed. Guerrilla war is an “unequal war” and in our own situation one could not have expected the fighters to put up large bases like the ones South Africa had, e.g. in the northern towns. They had their bases befitting their status. How could a mobile army have permanent structures? Fighters had to adapt to situations presenting themselves. Having control of the area does not mean that enemy forces cannot enter the area not under his control, we have many examples in history including Namibia. South Africa could not have been literally kicked out as one expects to make people believe. The conditions caused by the fighters contributed to the regime agreeing to negotiations. Imagine the replacements of captured and destroyed materials, the arrival of “the boys” in plastic bags is an indication that the bush war has contributed a lot. Kicked out through the gun does not mean seeing SADF soldiers fleeing across the Orange River, but they did withdraw. And to those who talk about the war having been of low intensity, how come that the regime mobilised such an enormous force even supported by thousands of members of the puppet armies?. Last illustration: if one lives in the area infected with “botsotsos” who repeatedly steal your property until you decide to move out of the area, are you not going to claim that: ‘I moved out because of the nuisance of the botsotsos?’ Let us be sensible. The rewriting of history in the absence of objectivity and understanding will not achieve its true purpose. Thank you Ndinomwaami Ondangwa