Elim-President Hage Geingob led tributes to founding governor of Omusati Nangolo Mukwiilongo, who died after he was brutally assaulted by a gang of four young men at his village, Elim.
Founding president Sam Nujoma, a personal friend of the late governor, and Nujoma’s successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba, also had kind words for Mukwiilongo, who was laid to rest at his village on Saturday.
Geingob at the funeral on Saturday praised Mukwiilongo for his heroic contribution in the struggle to liberate Namibia, but said that his struggle had now ended, as he was brought to his last resting place.
“He shall suffer no more, he shall struggle no more and he shall feel no more pain, for he has joined his fellow fallen compatriots,” President Geingob said.
Mukwiilongo, who was the first regional councillor of Elim Constituency, was described by many of his peers as a fearless cadre, who will be remembered for his contribution towards the attainment of Namibia’s independence.
To others Mukwiilongo was a fount of knowledge, a family man, a businessman, a tailor and a man of various management accolades he had acquired during the liberation struggle.
He was accorded a state funeral and was escorted to his last resting place by thousands of mourners.
The 92-year-old Mukwiilongo died on May 24 at Ongwediva Medipark Hospital, where he succumbed to the injuries inflicted on him during the armed robbery at his home on April 11.
After the attack Mukwiilongo was first admitted at Oshikuku Roman Catholic Hospital before he was transferred to Ongwediva Medipark.
Mourners, including President Geingob, condemned the manner in which the four intruders, said to be young men, had attacked Mukwiilongo. His eulogy noted that Mukwiilongo had been kicked, dragged, electrocuted and tortured in all manner of ways.
The suspects have since been apprehended and were denied bail at Oshakati Magistrate’s Court last week.
Councillor of Elim Constituency Gerhard Shiimi appealed to the judiciary to impose a stiff sentence, while pleading with the court not to grant the suspects bail.
Nujoma said Mukwiilongo’s death robbed the nation of a fearless founder of the Owambo People’s Organisation (OPO), the forerunner of the ruling Swapo Party.
He said, like many freedom fighters, Mukwiilongo was prosecuted, harassed and sometimes jailed by the then apartheid regime.
“The late Mukwiilongo was not only a pillar of strength and a fountain of wisdom to his family, but also to the Swapo party,” Nujoma said.
Prior to 1990, Mukwiilongo had served as deputy secretary of the Swapo Party Elders Council (SPEC) and was tasked with running the Swapo warehouse.
After independence, Mukwiilongo served as the first Elim Constituency councillor between 1992 and 2004 and as the first governor of Omusati between 1992 and 1998.
Mukwiilongo is survived by eight children and several grandchildren.