Reconciliation motion causes stir

According to the deputy prime minister, Namibian voters did not vote them into parliament to debate such sensitive matters and cause chaos.

23 June 2020 | Government



Deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has shot down a motion by South West Africa National Union (Swanu) president Tangeni Iijambo on national reconciliation, saying it ridicules the issue.

Last week, Iijambo said in his National Assembly motion that reconciliation, in political terms, goes beyond repairing damaged political relations anchored in Namibia's violent past, and building peace in the aftermath of often systematic and egregious wrongdoing on the part of former foes. “Clearly it came out that it is unfortunate that we introduce discussions in the chamber not necessarily to address the pertinent issues but to play to the gallery.

“To the extent that we prepare our intervention in a way that should be provocative in order for interjections to be made,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said. According to her, Namibian voters did not vote them into parliament to debate such sensitive matters and cause chaos. She added that these types of motions are not raised to solve problems, but to make the ruling party the scapegoat for injustice.

Shaken foundation

According to Iijambo, talk about national reconciliation is fiction that has no connection with reality and, in his view, the country's foundations are beginning to shake because of unresolved issues, which threaten peace and stability.

“As a nation committed to the democratic ideal, why is uncovering the truth such a risky undertaking? The argument advanced with so much gusto by the ruling party that exposing the atrocities of the past and engaging in genuine reconciliation will only create more problems is one of the greatest fallacies ever conjured by the human mind. It places a huge question mark on our commitment to democracy and human rights in general,” he said.

Swapo must atone

Oiva Angula, a dungeon survivor, responded to the motion and said the Swanu leader is correct to question the country's national reconciliation policy and to state that there is no evidence suggesting it has worked in an independent Namibia.

According to Angula, who shared his alleged ordeal at the hands of Swapo leaders in his book 'Swapo Captive: A Comrade's Experience of Betrayal and Torture', Namibians experienced unfathomable offences against humanity before independence and have failed to deal with these atrocities.

“Swapo in exile committed grave crimes by carrying out so-called anti-infiltration campaigns of hysteria, which were in fact bloody witch-hunts bereft of respect for human rights. The number of victims then detained, tortured and killed, are very high. It is the darkest side of a fight otherwise often heroic,” he said.

Angula warned that the detainee issue is still fraught with dangerous potential to embarrass or damage high-ranking officials. “A pattern of denial, cover-ups and cronyism arose within the party throughout the post-conflict decades. The pattern has undermined the development of a sustainable democratic political culture in Namibia, based on civility, tolerance, inclusivity and reconciliation,” Angula said.

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