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Heroes’ Day a mere Swapo star rally - Swartbooi

Jemima Beukes
Jemima Beukes


Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi yesterday said Heroes’ Day has become hollow and has been turned into an elite gathering where comrades from the ruling party Swapo award themselves status and perpetuate the notion that only they are heroes worthy of celebration.

This is the latest shot in a war of words between government and LPM leaders amid a fallout regarding a commemorative event slated for Friday in Mariental.

Swartbooi, whose party rules the two southern regions following resounding victories in the 2020 regional and local authority elections, urged Namibians not to be fooled about this Friday’s event.

He claimed attendees will be served “aartappelslaai [potato salad] and stinking fish in a foam container”, while the elite wine and dine at hotels, outdressing and outselling each other.

He added that Heroes’ Day has been trivialised to the point that only those who are part of Swapo and its elite are hailed as heroes.

“Many of them were not fighters. Some of them were in New York, Sweden and so on. Many of those who will be awarded the heroes accolades cannot even walk, because they have eaten so much illegally that their feet cannot carry the weight of their stinking bodies,” Swartbooi, himself a former staunch Swapo member, said.

“Their tummies are big [and] disproportionate to the rest of their bodies - their spinal cords cannot hold onto their bellies that have consumed so much, so quickly, so illegally. Their necks cannot close because [they are] oversized.

“They don’t know life without bank balances with zeros and drive in black Mercedes Benzes or Lexuses as proxies – these are the people [President Hage] Geingob wants us to celebrate as leaders,” he said.


LPM leadership in the Hardap Region has accused central government of deliberately sidelining it and undermining its status as the ruling party in that region.

This has prompted Hardap regional council chairperson Gerson Dausab to withdraw council staff members from the organising committee of this weekend’s commemorative events.

Government has, on the other hand, accused the regional council of sabotage, but has nonetheless announced that it arranged its own ‘human resources’ to make a success of the event.

“Is this what the rule of law looks like where central government decides to overlook elected structures? Is that their version of democracy and freedom?” Swartbooi questioned.

Swapo star rally

“This Heroes’ Day is merely a Swapo star rally. This Heroes’ Day is so militarised; why is a Heroes’ Day militarised? In Kavango, President Hage Geingob threatened the community with war as well as the rest of us who are speaking of land,” Swartbooi said.

“Today we can ask how we define what a hero should be and what the prisms - through which a hero is defined - are. If we look at those awarded the medals, they tend to be ministers, members of parliament, so-called tested cadres of Swapo.”

He added that Swapo’s legacy as a liberator is fading and the myth that its members were such wonderful revolutionaries has long been chipped away at by their own corruption and ill-governance.

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Namibian Sun 2023-05-29

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