Swapo exposes Nujoma to attacks – KK

• Ex-minister says party is to blame for parliament insults

03 July 2020 | Politics

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK



Former youth minister Kazenambo Kazenambo says Swapo must take the blame for founding president Sam Nujoma being called a 'thug and liar' in parliament this week because party members use the retired statesman's name to suppress perceived opponents.

Nujoma's term as Namibian president ended in 2005 and two years later he retired as Swapo president after 47 years at the helm of the former liberation movement.

The National Assembly has lately been preoccupied with a motion on national reconciliation introduced by Swanu president Tangeni Iijambo, who wants the government to look into the plight of former Koevoet and South West Africa Territory Force (SWATF) members as well as those who allegedly suffered at the hands of Swapo in the so-called Lubango dungeons.

Swapo has been using its overwhelming parliamentary majority to reject the motion, with party MPs arguing that Iijambo's move was biased as it only sought to benefit these two groups and not other Namibians who suffered at the hands of Swapo's enemies during the war of liberation.

It was during this debate that Landless People's Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi called Nujoma a thug and a liar after gender minister Doreen Sioka used a quote from Nujoma's book 'Where Others Wavered' during her contribution to the debate.



Blame

Swartbooi's outburst has caused public outrage, but Kazenambo believes Swapo must take the blame for consistently using the retired statesman's name to 'suppress' opposing views.





“If you use Nujoma's name to supress me, I'd react in the same way Swartbooi reacted. The poor old man is caught in the crossfire because Swapo people keep using his name, long after he has retired,” he said yesterday during an interview with Namibian Sun. “I've been asked by many people to express myself on this matter, specifically how I would have reacted if I was still in parliament,” said Kazenambo, whose stint as minister was laden with controversies of its own.

The former PLAN fighter added: “Swartbooi's behaviour is not a cause but a symptom which we must address.” “Swapo MPs are saying the issues [Lubango and Koevoet compensation] are sensitive and should thus not be discussed. This has been said for the past 30 years and it will not go away as long as we do not allow the matter to be discussed once and for all. “Allow the debate to take place, no matter how difficult it is. Only then a solution would be found, even if Swapo's position prevails in the end. We can't preach democracy every day while stopping people from expressing their views on certain matters.

“It's the same thing as raising the issue of genocide or ancestral land. You'll be labelled a 'tribalist' because people want to intimidate and supress you.

“The outbursts that we saw in parliament on this matter is an explosion of something that has been in the body politics of Namibia for three decades. That's why I am saying what we are seeing is a symptom of a bigger problem. Let people discuss the issues. “The fact of the matter is that this kind of behaviour has divided us as a people. Apart from singing the national anthem together, there is hardly anything else that we can truly say it brings us together as a people.



Uncouth parliamentarians

Nujoma's senior special assistant Paul Shipale in a statement described Swartbooi and his deputy Henny Seibeb as ill-mannered and uncouth parliamentarians whose remarks must be condemned.

“The office of the founding president finds these invectives and insults towards [Nujoma] un-parliamentary, unpatriotic and cowardly in nature, attacking an elder statesman when he cannot defend himself in parliament. Similarly, it finds this unwarranted onslaught towards the founding president highly provocative and disturbing the peace and stability in our country.”



'Blasphemous act'

The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) in a statement issued yesterday described as 'blasphemous act' the insults directed at Nujoma, whom it credited with leading the liberation struggle that morphed into the country's independence.

“The founding president, Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma's political legacy should be upheld by all peace-loving Namibians. We cannot allow it to be distorted by LPM members of parliament to score cheap political points…” the league said.