OMAALALA – Many mourners have described the death of DTA political Philemon Moongo as a big loss not only to Omaalala B village where he served as a headman but also to the nation.
Villagers and mourners, who assembled at Moongo’s residence after his death on Tuesday, described him as a people’s person, a father and provider of the Omaalala community.
Moongo, 71, died on Tuesday at the Ongwediva Medipark Hospital after a long battle with cancer and will be buried on March 28 at Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region. A memorial is scheduled to take place at his homestead at Omaalala B.
The DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani, who travelled to the north to console the bereaved family, said Moongo’s death is a big blow to the entire country.
Venaani described the former DTA vice-president as a generous and humble man who fought for the rights of the poor and the downtrodden.
Besides, Moongo fought his battle with a lot of determination and ensured he attended all party activities both locally and internationally including the last year’s presidential and national elections campaigns even when he was sickly, Venaani said.
Moongo, who was also a businessman, will be missed by the party for his generosity for assisting the party financially during difficult times and more so for being a prudent manager of party resources, Venaani added.In his legislative career as MP spanning over two decades, Venaani reminisced, the late Moongo will be remembered for consistently asking questions aimed at improving the living conditions of the poor people across Namibia.
Two of the victories that Moongo achieved as a parliamentarian through his consistent questioning are the compensation for relocating communities from demarcated areas.
In addition, Venaani said Moongo would also be remembered for fighting for the traditional leaders to receive compensation for the service they render.
“Moongo moved seven motions in parliament for traditional leaders to be given a better share and that is why today they enjoy the benefit of cars, among others,” related Venaani.
In a tribute to the wife of the late Moongo, Venaani said the young and future generation have a lot to tap and emulate from the courage of Moongo’s wife who stood by her husband unwaveringly during his time of ailment.
According to Venaani, Frieda Moongo drove her husband to and from all party meetings and ensured that he never missed any of the political meetings.
“A good wife is noticed when she is visible during difficult times and I have never seen a wife so dedicated,” said Venaani.
Describing his flamboyant personality, Aini Matheus said the late Moongo was able to embrace everyone in the community and he embraced them with the same love irrespective of their political affiliations. Matheus added that Moongo generously provided people at his village with food to sustain themselves.
“When we are starving Tate Moongo would give us maize, cooking oil, soup and fish,” reminisced Matheus.
Matheus added that the late Moongo also took it upon himself to pay school fees for many of the children from his village irrespective of the different political parties to which they belonged.
She said on top of that he would occasionally slaughter cattle and call the villagers to a feast and when they had problems he was always there and ready to assist those who were in need.
“We have lost a father, if you have a problem he would give you money and he would not expect it back,” said Matheus.
Moongo was born on April 11, 1943, at Oniipa in the Oshikoto Region. He has been a member of the National Assembly since 1994 up to the time of his death.
Moongo, who was initially a member of Swapo Party, fled into exile with a group of other Namibians to join the liberation struggle in the mid-70s. In exile, he became a platoon commander in the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the then military wing of Swapo.
However, he was arrested and detained by Swapo from 1976 to 1978 first in Zambia then in Tanzania.
Following his release in 1978, Moongo moved to Sweden for a short time before returning to Namibia and he organised support for a new political party called Swapo Democrats.
Swapo Democrats joined the Multi-Party Conference, which sought to come to a settlement over Namibian independence with Swapo’s involvement in 1983.
From 1985 to 1989, Moongo was a Swapo Democrat delegate to the Transitional Government of National Unity Assembly.
However, Swapo Democrats received just 3 000 votes in the 1989 Constituent Assembly election prior to independence and the party became defunct soon after.
Moongo joined the leading opposition party following independence, the DTA, in 1990 and soon became regional chairperson of northern and central Namibia.
In 1994, Moongo raced for parliament on a DTA ticket and was elected to the National Assembly, where he served as an MP.
He also served as the Headman of Omaalala B, a village in the Ondonga Traditional Authority. Moongo owned Uukumwe shops.
Moongo is survived by his wife, 14 children and three siblings.