By John Ekongo
Condolence messages have been pouring in ever since the passing of the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, John Pandeni last Friday.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nahas Angula told Parliament that, “Pandeni was a veteran freedom fighter, a trade unionist and a political leader.
As we mourn him, we also celebrate his achievements.”
Sackey Kayone, Governor of Omusati, the region where Pandeni hails from described him as a determined fighter and liberation hero.
“On behalf of the Omusati Regional Council, the local authorities and the traditional leaders and the general population, we have lost a great man, we give our tribute to the parents of Pandeni, and in the same vein extend our condolences to Madam Julia, the children and the entire Namibian nation for the loss of great man.”
Kayone adds, “As members of Swapo, we will keep the flame of the late Pandeni alive and continue where he left off with determination.”
Also joining the mourners was the Governor of Oshikoto Region, Penda ya Ndakolo. He said Pandeni was like a father figure to the leadership of Oshikoto.
“We have been saddened by the death of our comrade. He was like father figure, an advisor and visionary leader not only to the Regional Council of Oshikoto, but all the regional councils in the country and the entire nation.
May his soul rest in peace.”
Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, said the late minister would always have a special place in the hearts of Hardap residents.
As a young member of People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), Pandeni found refuge in Hardap where the local communities assisted him in advancing the cause of independence.
Pandeni was arrested in Mariental at the farm of Willem Biwa, together with Petrus Iilonga, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. The trio was sentenced to 18 years on Robben Island on charges of terrorism but only served eight years, before being released in 1985.
Himarwa, described the late Pandeni as great man and peacemaker. “We respected him for the leader he was, a peacemaker, a committed and principled man”.
The Governor consoles Pandeni’s widow, Madam Julia, saying “Only in God will you find solace during these difficult times”.
The late Pandeni’s body will be flown to his home village on Sunday before returning to Windhoek the next day.
Pandeni will be buried at Heroes Acre on March 29.