By William J. Mbangula
President Hifikepunye Pohamba has urged traditional leaders who are actively involved in politics to choose between politics and traditional matters to avoid conflict of interest.
Speaking at a Swapo Party rally on Saturday, the President said he himself is headman of Okanghudi village in Ohangwena Region which was previously led by his father, but since he is active in politics, he has delegated someone else to run the village on his behalf.
“I therefore appeal to the Chairman of the Council of Traditional Leaders King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas who is present here to take this message to fellow traditional leaders.”
The Head of State was apparently reacting to reports that some traditional leaders in Ohangwena are openly using their positions within the traditional authorities to enhance their chances of becoming political leaders.
It was reported recently that most traditional leaders within Oukwanyama Traditional Authority are openly supporting the newly established opposition party Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).
On the role of the media, specifically the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), the President noted with concern that the medium is being abused to cause disunity and animosity within the peaceful nation of Namibia. He said instead of the NBC radio and television being used for nation building, it is used to destroy peace.
“What do you gain from insulting one another on air? You need to bear in mind that insults can lead to confrontation, which may cause war and blood letting. I am not trying to curb the freedom of the media and no one should accuse me of that, but what I want to tell the nation is that the media should be used to build the nation, not to destroy it.
“It should be utilized in a responsible manner for progress and unity of the nation. I would like to appeal to the managers of NBC to make sure that programmes that are aimed at nation building are aired but not the ones which have a negative effect on the nation.”
Reacting to allegations by defectors from Swapo whom he described as prophets of doom, he said they are only making all sorts of accusations after leaving the party and the Government, but did not say anything when they were part of it. Some of them, he noted, have demonstrated the backward politics of resorting to tribalism.
“I have learned that some people lately are accusing Swapo of not having done anything related to the development of the country. Some of these people were ministers who failed to perform their duties and are running to what they call their own people, meaning their tribes, in order to get political comfort and protection.
“They are now saying because we are from such a tribe, we are not wanted in Swapo and the Government. I want to ask them: Do you want to create a tribal-based government in Namibia? This cannot be allowed because there can only be a national government in Namibia.
“As far as I know, the Swapo constitution and that of the country have not changed, hence there is no room for tribal-based institutions.”
The Head of State explained that Swapo, being a mass movement supported by all Namibians, will not allow any tribe in Namibia to be discriminated against because this is not allowed in the party constitution and the supreme law of the land, the national constitution.
Outlining some of the development activities carried out by the Swapo-led government, the President said many development projects were initiated including roads, towns, railways, hospitals, schools and institutions of higher learning.
He referred to the University of Namibia with its branch in Oshakati and the newly launched Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at Ongwediva, the road from Rosh Pinah-Uis, Outapi-Okahao through Tsandi road, the Rundu-Eenhana road, and the Kamanjab-Omakange and Oshikuku-Okalongo roads.
“I am always the telling the doubting Thomases that if they cannot believe their eyes, they should feel it themselves with their own hands. Let them go around and touch the buildings, the roads and all other infrastructure created by the Swapo Government in order to satisfy themselves that we in Swapo mean serious business when we say we want to develop this country.
“We are not making empty promises that we will do this and that but we are talking about what we have achieved already and continue to achieve.”
Paying tribute to the forefathers of the liberation struggle, the President noted that the history of Namibia should be remembered way back to the years of Hendrik Witbooi, Mandume Ndemufayo, Nehale LyaMpingana, Iipumbu Ya Shilongo, Samwel Maharero, Jacob Marenga, Kahimemua Nguvauva and many pioneers of the liberation struggle.
Having paved the way for the young generation, the forebearers were followed by the young generation of Herman Toivo ya Toivo, Mzee Simon Hafeni Kaukungwa, Sam Nujoma, Kahumba Kandola and many others who created Swapo in 1960.
In 1964, Swapo was experiencing difficulties of getting in touch with its leaders in Windhoek and elsewhere in the country from exile. As a result it forged a unity agreement with the Caprivi African National Union (CANU) led by the late Brendan Simbwaye who was later imprisoned and killed in prison by the colonial regime.
Despite this setback, however, other heroes and heroines followed in the footsteps of their predecessors, and some of them sacrificed their lives. Among these people were Tobias Hainyeko, the First Commander of the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN); Peter Nanyemba, former Swapo Secretary of Defence; Helao Nafidi, August Nghaamwa, Pondo Shikongo, Jason Ndadi, Wilbard Tashiya “Nakada”, David Mbango, Hanganee Katjipuka and many others.
At the same time, Swapo as a liberation movement experienced the massacre of its own members and supporters such as those at Oshikuku, Oshatotwa, Cassinga, Oshakati and Epinga.
No other party in this country, noted the Head of State, can claim to have contributed to the liberation struggle and freed Namibia as did Swapo.
At the same time, no history will be written about the liberation struggle of Namibia and the first 15 years of independence without mentioning the name of Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, the First President of Swapo and Namibia.
“If you happen to come across a book about Namibian history of colonial resistance and the first years of independence but it has not mentioned Sam Nujoma, then you should think twice before you continue reading that book because that is not the truthful reflection of the situation,” he stressed.
He urged all Namibians to consider Swapo as the party of choice where all true patriotic Namibians should belong and feel comfortable within its rank and file.
Passing on the message to the audience from the Father of the Nation and Leader of the Namibian Revolution Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma, Pohamba told the crowd that he wished them well but wanted them to remain peaceful and united.
Swapo Party Coordinator in Oshana Erastus Uutoni said accusations made against the ruling party by defectors are provocative and irresponsible. Some of those who are saying Swapo has lost vision are themselves lost because they have strayed from the majority of the people. He reiterated Swapo’s determination to keep the two-thirds majority come 2009 elections.
Introducing the keynote speaker, Swapo Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana said democracy was brought to Namibia through a protracted liberation struggle and that there is no party that can claim to know democracy more than Swapo. Those who want to create instability should remember that democracy is not chaos and power should not be grabbed by force.
Passing a vote of thanks, Governor of Oshana Clemens Kashuupulwa lauded President Pohamba for being firm and determined not only during the years of the liberation struggle but even after independence. He said his conduct served as an inspiration to his followers who are prepared to support him.
Among those who attended the rally were the King of Uukwaluudhi Josia ShikongoTaapopi, King of Ongandjera Jafet Munkundi, Chief Oswin Mukulu of Ombalantu, Deputy Chairperson of the National Council Margaret Mensah-Williams, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Benhard Esau, Deputy Minister of Lands and Resettlement Isaac Katali, Deputy Minister of Safety and Security Gabes Shihepo, the Governors of Oshikoto (Penda Ya Ndakolo), Omusati (Sackey Kayone) and Ohangwena (Usko Nghaamwa), Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport Pohamba Shifeta, Telecom Managing Director Frans Ndoroma, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lempy Lucas, Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing Rural Development John Pandeni, Minister of Defence Charles Namholoh, Minister of Education and Swapo Deputy Secretary General Nangolo Mumba, Elcin retired Bishop Dr Kleopas Dumeni, Minister of Mines and Energy Errki Nghimtina, regional and local councillors, members of the National Council and National Assembly and other dignitaries.
The rally was opened with a prayer by Bishop Thomas Shivute of Elcin.
Swapo Party will hold another public rally at Helao Nafidi on Saturday December 22.