Sport, youth and national service permanent secretary Alfred Matengu Ilukena has retired from the public service, in which he worked tirelessly for nearly three decades.
Rosalia Tjaveondja, who is currently the director of general services in the sport, youth and national service ministry, has been appointed as the acting permanent secretary.
The youth ministry hosted a farewell reception for Ilukena, where the seasoned public servant reflected on his career since his first appointment to the public service as one of the education inspectors at independence,tasked with setting up an inspectorate division in the new education ministry.
Their role was to purge, as it were, the education sector of the remnants of Bantu education.
Ilukena regaled the audience with memories from when he served as school inspector in the early 1990s and at one point locking horns with a high school principal in Kavango region, Mr John Mutorwa.
Mutorwa would eventually be appointed to the role of minister of education, effectively becoming Ilukena’s boss. It was also at the same school that Ilukena, still a school inspector, would reprimand a young school vice-principal, Mr Tjekero Tweya. Tweya would eventually be appointed as the deputy minister of finance and then as the minister of information and communication technology.
Ilukena too would be appointed as permanent secretary to the ministry of education, where he would spend many years before being appointed to the youth ministry. However, his role in education started way back during his exile where he served in various educational roles for Swapo.
“Comrade Ilukena did not start in the education field after 1990. When he was young he left the country and was trained as a PLAN combatant who was also involved in education. He is a pioneer in education,” is how Jerry Ekandjo, the minister of sport, youth and national service summed up Ilukena’s career.
Nevertheless, Ilukena says although in general he was happy with his accomplishment as permanent secretary for the youth ministry, he also has areas of regret, where he feels he could have done much more.
“I wanted to leave the ministry with proper functioning, comprehensive, multi-purpose sport and youth centres. A one-stop shop, where everything happens. Unfortunately, I have never been able to achieve that as well. As I leave, I regret those things that I have not achieved,” he said.
“I feel that I should have delivered the structure – failure to do so I feel I have not completed my mission. I wanted to make sure that before I leave, I have a decentralized functioning model so that we can take services to the people. We have done well so far – we wanted to decentralise the functions this year, the functions have been identified, but unfortunately we cannot implement to the fullest extent of decentralisation, because our resources do not allow us to do so,” said Ilukena.
Youth deputy minister Agnes Tjongarero thanked the family of Ilukena and especially his wife for having shared him with so many people: “Madam, thank you very much, I know it was not easy. I know he is one of those people who will be in the office very early in the morning, and he will also be very late in the office before he goes home. This means, most of the time, he was with us and not with you and the children. Thank you very much for allowing him to be with us for that time.”
Tjongarero praised Ilukena for his dedication to the public service and for sharing his knowledge with her on many issues.
“There were things I thought I knew, but working with you I realised there were things that I did not know, and you taught me many of the things. Thank you very much for that,” she said.