President Attends Bishop’s Burial

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By William Mbangula ONDANGWA President Hifikepunye Pohamba has hailed the late Bishop Hamupanda Kauluma as one of the people who have contributed immensely to the liberation struggle of Namibia. Speaking at the burial service of the late Anglican Church leader here on Saturday, the President noted that the soft-spoken church leader was a source of inspiration and coordination of the clandestine activities of Swapo inside Namibia. The President and the former Swapo representative in the United Kingdom, Ambassador Shapua Kaukungwa, used to network with him during the liberation struggle under the code name ‘Elyenge’, meaning chain. As a result, they were able to coordinate more successfully the party’s activities inside the country through the late Bishop Kauluma. Kaukungwa also attended the funeral service. Said the President: “I am always hesitant to accept the notion that only those people who were in exile contributed to the liberation of Namibia. If you come to me with such stories, I will tell you to go away. After all, most of the people who were in exile are well known to me. I know of some of their bad behaviour during that time. When I meet them, they always try to bury their faces out of shame.” Having met with the late Bishop at Onamunama Primary School together with Rev. Stefanus Nghitokolapo (who also attended the burial service) and Jacob Kuhangwa (then a teacher but now deceased) some 57 years ago, the President has all along been in touch with him. Even when he was very sick in hospital, he went to visit him. In appreciation for what the late Bishop had contributed, the President noted, he was tempted to cancel his attendance of the graduation ceremony at the Polytechnic of Namibia and instead came to bid farewell to his old friend and comrade. President Pohamba also paid tribute to the entire church community in Namibia for their selfless contribution to the liberation struggle of the country. He said the history of the liberation struggle of Namibia cannot be complete without mentioning the church and some great names which spearheaded such a vigorous and determined campaign such as Chief Hosea Kutako, Rev. Michael Scott, Rev. Theofilus Hamutumbangela, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, Mzee Simon Kaukungwa, the Father of the Namibian Nation and Swapo President Dr Sam Nujoma, among others. Former Secretary-General of the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN), Dr Abisai Shejavali, spoke on behalf of the friends of the late Bishop. Shejavali, who served under Bishop Kauluma for almost 10 years when the late Bishop was President of the CCN, described him as one of the-then unifying forces within the church family. Shejavali said: “Bishop Kauluma was a fearless and brave person who became the voice of the voiceless, oppressed people of Namibia as they embarked on their struggle to achieve freedom and national independence.” Turning to the political leadership of the country, Shejavali bemoaned the excessive exportation of the country’s wealth such as fish, diamonds, copper and other natural resources just the same way it whad been happening during the colonial era. Poverty and hunger have become the order of the day in the country of abundant resources because there is no equal distribution of wealth. As a result of the lack of social and economic justice, many people are suffering, hence the church should revive its prophetic role to help address some of the evils facing the country today. Shejavali also condemned what he sees as disunity and tribalism becoming more prevalent in Namibia. Unlike during the liberation struggle when the people were united, fighting for a common goal of one Namibia one nation, the country and the nation at the moment are not one. The former CCN Secretary-General also criticized those in government earning fat salaries and perks and who fought with the late Bishop during the difficult times but allowed him to live in poverty after his retirement. Such people, some of them church members, are not even paying the tenth of their income as required by church law. He commended Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun of United Africa for having employed the late Bishop after his retirement as a way to make his life more acceptable. One of the beneficiaries from Bishop Kauluma’s generosity, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, who spoke on behalf of the former Robben Island prisoners, narrated how well they were served by him after their release in 1984. Ya Toivo, who cancelled his trip to Katima Mulilo where he was supposed to have addressed a Swapo 47th anniversary rally, said he could not stomach missing the burial of one of the people who assisted him so much with his comrades when they were released from prison by the-then South African colonial authorities. Among the messages of condolences read at the burial service was one that came from the Archdiocese of Cape Town and delivered by Bishop Bethlehem Nopece on behalf of the Anglican Church in Southern Africa. Another message read by Swapo Secretary of the Elders Council, Kanana Nghishoono who also delivered the eulogy, came from Swapo President Dr Sam Nujoma who said Bishop Kauluma has left behind a legacy of dedicated spiritual leadership, bravery and honesty. Apart from the large crowd that packed the church and even sat outside under the trees, the burial service, directed by Swapo MP Jeremia Nambinga, was attended by Prime Minister Nahas Angula; the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Dr Nickey Iyambo; Swapo veteran, Simon Mzee Kaukungwa; former Police Commissioner in the North, Elisa Haulyondjaba; former National Council Chairman, Kandy Nehova; Bishop Kleopas Dumeni of Elcin; Chief Oswin Mukulu of Ombalantu; Chief Herman Iipumbu of Uukwambi; King Josia Shikongo Taapopi of Uukwaluudhi; Senior Headman Boas Mweendeleli of Ondonga, and others. Born at Ongula Ya Netanga village, some 50ÃÆ’Æ‘ÀÃ…ÃÆ”šÃ‚ km north-east of Ondangwa, Bishop Kauluma, 73,died last Monday, April 16, at the Medi Clinic Hospital after a long battle with prostate cancer. He attended primary school at St Mary Odibo and Onamunama, after which he proceeded to study in Kenya, South Africa and the USA. In 1977, he was elected assistant Bishop, and consecrated Bishop in 1978. Kauluma became the first Namibian Bishop of the Anglican Church in Namibia in 1981. He is survived by his wife, Sally, two daughters Nangado and Nangula, and two grandchildren. The visiting Bishop Nopece of Port Elizabeth, Anglican Bishop Nathanael Nakwatumba and Bishop Emeritus Shihala Hamupembe, Kauluma’s successor who led the procession of mourners, conducted the spiritual part of the service.