http://www.newera. com.na/article. php?articleid= 5726
Nujoma’s Political Thoughts In Contemporary Africa
by Dr T. Elijah Ngurare, Henny H. Seibeb, Bernadus C
24 July 2009
Growing up in different parts of rural Namibia, as diverse as deep in the southern town of Keetmanshoop, a dusty hilly town of Khorixas or at the banks of the Kavango river town of Nkurenkuru, at a pinnacle of the struggle for freedom of Namibia, one constantly heard about the name Sam Nujoma, more importantly his hopes and vision to liberate this country. During that time the propaganda machinery of the Pretoria regime was so harsh and attached negative connotations and names to this great African revolutionary hero, which varied from the ‘terrorist’ who changed into ‘green leaves’ when confronted by enemies and ‘Die Groot Gevaar’.
At the dawn of independence in 1989, our ‘Aardrykskunde’ (geography) and ‘Geskiedenis’ (history) teachers would relate to us that Namibia will soon become free under the guidance and leadership of the very one, Sam Nujoma, and that the heroes of the struggle will return to Khorixas, Keetmanshoop and Nkurenkuru. Elsewhere, some registered at different stations across Namibia to prepare for the watershed National Constituent Assembly Elections.
Little did we comprehend that this is a man whom all Namibians will regard as a Founding President of Namibia and Father of the Namibian Nation, and indeed a Leader of the Namibian Revolution. It is a truism that all nations in the world have that specific pillar that they looked up to in times of challenges and difficulties and fondly referred to as spiritual fatherly figures such as: Washington and Lincoln of the United States; Mahatma Gandhi of India; Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana; Abdul Nasser, Egypt; Chairman Mao Zedong, China; Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Toussaint L’Overture of Haiti.
Nujoma’s thoughts have been shaped by great patriotic African statesmen who decisively engaged themselves for the struggle of emancipation from colonial bondage. Nujoma symbolizes national unity and the work for the common good of all our people. He embraces the aspirations of economic development and a unified African people, living together in peace and harmony.
From the historical trajectory, Nujoma represents the sum total of the great revolutionaries of Namibia, such as Hendrik Witbooi, Jacob Morenga, Mandume ya Ndumefayo, Samuel Maherero and many other unsung heroes and revolutionaries of our country. His passion for youth is his conviction that empowering the youth is the consolidation of the future of any society. The commitment he has demonstrated toward women empowerment and representation speaks volumes of his understanding of the central role of women in any worthy democracy. He is a visionary and a person with strong resolve, embarking on such projects as the grape farm and the railway project. These projects are a strong indictment of the deep and unquestioned confidence that Nujoma has in the country and her people.
Nujoma’s thinking has also been shaped by the black African star of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, and notable African Diaspora personalities and African philosophers and revolutionaries like Padmore, William Sylvester, W E B Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey, which is so remarkable in his persistent calls for African unity, both continental and in the Diaspora, in the context of Pan-Africanism.
His vision for Africa is that it must be independent economically and politically, without any outside imperialist’s interference. This is why Nujoma continually called for the construction of a canal from DRC to the southern-most tip of Africa. He firmly believes that such a project will virtually provide energy and food for the whole of Africa. Food security tops one of his priorities apart from education. This can be demonstrated by the creation of a first university in an independent Namibia, namely University of Namibia, and a strong Polytechnic of Namibia and various Colleges of Education, with the ultimate aim of training new teachers for new Namibia. The vision for educating his people has never dissipated from Nujoma’s central thoughts. He even exemplified this by harnessing a Master’s degree in Geology.
Contrary to the paranoic delusional claims by Henning Melber, on a piece posted on web, “Where others wavered: Nujoma at 80”, on 22 April 2009, Issue 429, that “monumental symbolism” is the content of Nujoma’s character and that he “prefers posing as a military (rather than a diplomatic) figurehead and displays the virtues of an uncompromising man”, he has been always an icon of African liberation and emancipation from mental and financial freedom, hence his support for the creation of a national economic planning commission to craft national development plans and vision 2030, to cement a niche for Namibia’s sustainable development for the benefit of her people.
Now, South Africa has taken a leaf from Nujoma’s thoughts to create a national planning commission under President Zuma. Namibia has participated in international peacekeeping missions and has been accorded a status of the President of the UN General Assembly during his tenure and further entrenched democracy. Indeed, Nujoma left a firm foundation especially in the democratization of SADC and AU.
Nujoma was the first democratic leader in Africa who allowed competition for his succession in Africa, rather than as business as usual of appointing preferred candidates. He concisely did this by allowing Hifikepunye Pohamba, current President of SWAPO and Namibia, Nahas Angula, current Prime Minister, and Hidipo Hamutenya, now leader of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), to stand as candidates to succeed him.
Many former liberation movements including ANC under Mandela and Mbeki have been dogged by conspiracies and controversies. Nujoma allowed democracy to take its natural course as all the candidates canvassed and voting took place, in the event which was broadcast live on NBC TV. We have witnessed in Kenya, Rwanda, DRC, and Burundi and elsewhere, how Africans continued to kill themselves over crumbs from a capitalist table and tribalism. In the final analysis, Nujoma discouraged tribalism, ethnicity and regionalism in all its shapes and content. This is why he never only surrounds himself with his clansmen but with people from all walks of life. His ideas flowed all over Africa and elsewhere.
This is personified by all African revolutionaries from SPLM, ANC, FRELIMO, ZANU-PF, MPLA and worldwide such as Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO). This is why it is so disturbing when some of the Cabinet Ministers, High Commissioners, and others have now found it their mandatory duty and become sworn tribalists, steadfast to eliminate “others” who do not belong to “their” clans. This is a sad reality, which has nearly even penetrated the rank and file members of SPYL.
Indeed, as true revolutionaries and in conformity with One Namibia, One Nation, the SPYL rejected these vestiges which were against the unity of our movement. The legacy of Nujoma is based on unity and nationalism. As we celebrated his 80th birthday earlier, may the youth and elders of Namibia continue to pause to pay tribute and homage to the Leader of the Namibian Revolution.
Sam Nujoma embodies the unity of all Namibians. After all, this is Namibia, where all belong, irrespective of race and economic class, hence we continue to proclaim, patriotically stubborn and respectfully always, a luta continua!
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