Ya Nangoloh: Army chiefs want apology before Swapo readmission

02 September 2021 | Politics

STAFF REPORTER



WINDHOEK

Some former army chiefs have demanded an apology from Namrights executive director Phil ya Nangoloh ahead of a meeting yesterday where Swapo’s top-three leaders are set to discuss an application by the human rights defender to join the party.

Namibian Sun understands that Swapo president Hage Geingob, vice-president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa were scheduled to discuss Ya Nangoloh’s application yesterday – after Shaningwa had initially referred it back to district structures of the party.

Ya Nangoloh applied for a Swapo membership in May.

The Namibian reported at the time that he approached Shaningwa with his application, but was referred to the Samora Machel district where he lives.

The newspaper quoted Swapo leaders at district and regional levels as saying that Ya Nangoloh was welcome to join the party.

Yesterday, Namibian Sun heard that some Swapo members with military background are demanding that Ya Nangoloh first tender an apology for the harm he has caused to Swapo and its leaders before he could be admitted as a member.

This was after Ya Nangoloh approached the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2007 to hold former President Sam Nujoma and three others accountable for people who went missing in the care of Swapo and the government before and after independence.

Not forgotten

Ya Nangoloh had asked that Nujoma, former defence minister Erkki Nghimtina, former chief of defence Solomon 'Jesus' Hawala and Namibia Defence Force first battalion colonel Thomas Shuuya be investigated for "instigation, planning, supervision, abetting, aiding, defending

and/or perpetuating" the disappearances of hundreds of Namibians.

Nujoma was the commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan), Swapo’s now disbanded military wing during the liberation struggle.

It is not clear whether the ICC pursued the request and how far any investigations went.

A former senior army official who remains a Swapo member yesterday said: “The top-three party leaders are meeting today [yesterday] to deliberate on Ya Nangoloh’s application. But he must first apologise for the personal vendetta that he pursued relentlessly against Founding President Nujoma and for trying to drag him and some of our military colleagues to the ICC.”

“How will we look each other in the eye with Phil as comrades, knowing the harm he has caused our party and its leadership? How can we sincerely look at him as a fellow comrade if he does not express remorse at the pain he has caused the same party he now wants to join?”

In May, Ya Nangoloh told The Namibian that he joined Swapo on 21 May 1974 at Oshigambo High School in the Oshikoto Region. After that, he said, he was registered by Andreas Nuukwawo as a member at a Swapo farm in Lusaka, Zambia.

When approached for comment on whether he will consider apologising, Ya Nangoloh said: “I have no time for that”.

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