On 21 March 2020, Namibia will clock 30 years of independence, shrouded in secrecy of torture and disappearances of many Namibians in Lubango dungeons of Angola. Many of the victims of this horrendous chapter in the Namibian liberation history were unfortunate for not accorded fair hearing and decent burials appropriate for heroes. Shockingly it has been a taboo to talk about those dark hours of the dungeons, as it would be opening old wounds. For the sake of peace and forgiveness, it is advisable to re-open the wounds for better and complete healing so that we can have something tangible to celebrate about.
Some prominent icons of the liberation struggle have been threateningly warning the masses not to take the peace we are enjoying for granted. Their fingers always point at the members of the former South African racist security forces and their collaborators, the Koevoet as the sole culprits for the atrocities committed during the war of attrition. However, the naked reality is that both the South African apartheid regime and its security forces and PLAN of Swapo have blood of innocent people and in most cases, comrades in arms on their hands. The only difference is that the white hands, which shed black blood, are seen to be more sinister than their black counterparts, fulfilling the common dictum “blood is thicker than water.”
The boers shoulder the blame of Cassinga, Shatotwa and many skirmishes in which many Namibians were massacred on their soil and abroad. No matter which side inflicted more casualties, life is an inalienable right and no one has the right to take it from anybody. It is against this background that the crafters and fathers of our Constitution inserted Article 6 for the protection of Namibian life.
Yes, we have enjoyed a period of relative peace and tranquillity since 1990 if 2 August 1999 Caprivian Uprising is set aside. Relaxed as we are, the country seems to be nursing a political and detainee volcano, which is likely to erupt in future. This is not inciting anything as we recently heard from one minister in parliament cautioning his partners in the Fishrot that the scandal might lead to civil war. Can we seriously talk about absolute peace when the majority of Namibians are wallowing in poverty, while the elite few are getting richer by day?
All Namibians who lost their lives during the war of independence are precious gems and should be seen so by the nation as such; hence, the need to know what happened to them. Whereas Nujoma’s ‘Where Others Wavered’ does give information on the struggle, certain information has been found to be mistakenly contradictory. It shows some Namibians who disappeared during the liberation war at the front but not from both sides of the war. Heroes like Keshi Nathanael, Aliki Angula and Samson Ndeikwila have at least sketched what happened in the dungeons where thousands perished at hands of their fellow Namibian comrades.
Whereas it is accepted that there are casualties in any war situation, it becomes more painful if the people inflicting such casualties are your comrades in arms and that should not be justified by any means. Nothing will bring our loved ones back, but it is important that the nation should know what transpired during those protracted and dark days of the liberation struggle. The Swapo leadership of old and new surprisingly continue to sing the praises of people with blood on their hands and hail them as heroes. The perpetrators and torturers were supposed to be behind bars, but alas, the undocumented Policy of National Reconciliation was in nick of time to save them.
It seems that those fallen heroes and heroines have been forgotten after thirty years of independence. Their names rarely appear on the streets or buildings but what is portrayed are the living ones of which in some cases their involvement in the liberation struggle was minimum. Thirty years of independence yet the offsprings and spouses of these liberators who were left behind keep on suffering, while the ministers with all perks, including the Fishrot, Diamondrot, Oilrot, Farmsrot and many other rots still fill their pockets with veteran money without shame. The veteran purse is almost empty because of pilfering by the authority with impunity. Maybe the country needs the Truth and Reconciliation Commission similar to that of South Africa.