Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, the chairperson of Swapo Party’s disciplinary committee, has vowed to fight tooth and nail for the return of Namibians, who have been living in Botswana since 1904.
There is a growing number of Ovaherero/OvaMbanderu people living in Botswana, who have in past years requested the Botswana government to return them to Namibia.
Between 1904 and 1908 large numbers of Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama people fled then German South West Africa to Botswana to escape the indiscriminate and genocidal wrath of German colonial troops, who were acting on an extermination order from the infamous General Lothar von Trotha.
“How is it that the first and the second generation are Namibians and the others do not qualify? These people have suffered a lot for this country and I’m going to fight it tooth and nail,” said the former Swapo party secretary general.
He was speaking at yesterday’s launch of his autobiography, ‘To Hell and Back’, at the Pan African Institute for the Study of African Society.
“These people suffered for this country and now they’re being told they’re not Namibians.”
He said those exiled in Botswana and South Africa are not there because they wanted to be there, but were forced to leave and if willing to return they should be accepted.
“These people have done a lot and they must be brought back to the country of origin if they want to,” he stressed.
Speaking of his autobiography, Tjiriange said the time had come to tell the truth of what happened during the anti-colonial struggle: “When you’re writing a book, like this one, there is a danger of annoying those that don’t want the truth to be told, but that is the genesis of what happened in the past.”
Tjririange maintained that he is no liar and would never go down as a liar. “The truth must be told,” he insisted. His book is available at bookshops in Windhoek at a cost of N$300.
The launch was attended by a number of Swapo Party veterans, including former speaker of the National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab, the first education minister, Nahas Angula, former agriculture minister Helmut Angula and former youth minister Kazenambo Kazenambo.
Others in attendance included Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Tommy Nambahu, Minister of Land Reform Utoni Nujoma, Minister of Higher Education, Training and Innovation Dr Itah Kandjii- Murangi, Khomas Governor Laura Mcleod-Katjirua and Ambassador Designate to the People’s Republic of China Elia Kaiyamo, among others.