By Kuvee Kangueehi
A co-founder of the Breaking Wall of Silence (BWS), Pauline Dempers, has appealed to Members of Parliament from all political affiliations to reconsider and open the motion “on the predicament in which direct and indirect victims of the Lubango dungeons find themselves”.
Dempers made the appeal yesterday during the State Memorial Service of late MP Kalla Gertze at the Parliament Gardens in the capital.
She was referring to the motion, which was tabled by the late Gertze last year in October but was rejected by the National Assembly.
Addressing the mourners who included Prime Minister Nahas Angula, Swapo vice president, Hage Geingob, Speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, and Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila, Dempers said she makes the appeal for Gertze’s children and many more children of the Lubango victims.
“As one of the survivors of the Lubango dungeons and on behalf of all the survivors but most importantly in honour and respect of Gertze, I humbly make the appeal.”
Dempers said in the motion, Gertze was going to propose a National Reconciliation Day, where all Namibians will have a chance to say to each other “I am sorry” and take steps at every level to build peace and promote tolerance in the society.
Dempers said the mourners are paying their last respects to a son whose real contribution to the liberation struggle is still to be acknowledged and recognised.
“We are here today to pay last respects to one of the unsung heroes of our freedom and democracy.”
Delivering President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s message, Angula said Gertze was champion and a campaigner for the better life for everyone and the National Assembly should continue doing that to keep his legacy alive.
Paying tribute to Gertze, Geingob said it is sad day for everyone especially the wife and children of Gertze as the country has lost a promising leader and parliamentarian.
Geingob said he met Gertze almost 25 years ago at the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) while he was the director there and Gertze appeared to be a quiet but intelligent student.
He added that, as parliamentarian Gertze was committed and dedicated to his work and tabled important motions in the National Assembly.
“He helped to raise to bar of the quality of debates and we took him seriously because most of his motions were not rejected.”
Gertze was born on May 5, 1960 at a farm near Karibib and he is the ninth out of 11 children, six brothers and two sisters who are all still alive.
Gertze received his primary education at Walvis Bay under the care of his elder brother and continued his secondary education at Petrus !Ganeb Secondary School.
His political life and consciousness started very early from secondary school and he was involved in student politics and came into confrontation with the apartheid security forces at an early stage.
According to Dempers, he was expelled from school as a result with nine fellow students. Gertze left Namibia with a group of 42 fellow students that joined Swapo in exile in 1978 and went on to study at UN in Lusaka.
In 1981 Gertze completed a diploma in management and development studies and went for further studies to France in French language studies.
Gertze went for military training to Lubango and after completing the training at Tobias Hainyenko he was arrested by Swapo security forces in 1983.
Dempers said Gertze was tortured and falsely accused of being a South African spy and detained for six years in the Lubango dungeons.
He was released from detention and returned form exile on July 4, 1989 together with 162 fellow ex-detainees.