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Ex-UNTAG general humbled by top honour

2021-12-17  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Ex-UNTAG general humbled by top honour
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Retired Kenyan general Daniel Opande, who on Wednesday was conferred Namibia’s second highest honour for services rendered during the liberation struggle, on Wednesday said he is humbled and honoured by the award.

Opande, South Africa’s late struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and Bissau-Guinean economist Carlos Lopes were on Wednesday awarded the Most Brilliant Order of the Sun – First Class by President Hage Geingob.

Speaking to New Era after the awards, Opande said, at the time, he did his job as a soldier and did not expect to be rewarded later. 

“I am humbled and honoured by the award. This is the conclusion of a very important mission in my life. I served my country for 42 years in which I participated in many military activities but finishing with today’s event brings me pride that Namibia, which we assisted to get independence, is now fully-fledged to give foreign dignitaries the honours,” Opande told New Era.

Opande is a seasoned military officer, peacekeeper and an exemplary son of our continent, Geingob said while conveying the award.

“Excellence in duty and commitment to the betterment of humanity are traits only held by a few, and he is among those. Lieutenant General (retired) Opande served as deputy force commander with the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia from 1989 to 1990,” said Geingob. 

He said Opande contributed to the peaceful transition process that saw free and fair United Nations supervised elections leading to Namibia’s independence on 21 March 1990. 

After the UNTAG mission ended, Geingob said the Namibian government requested Kenya for Opande and his contingent to remain in Namibia to assist with the reconciliation of the two formerly opposing forces (PLAN and SWATF) and their integration into a formidable Namibian Defence Force that Namibia prides itself on today. 

Opande later served as chief military observer of the United Nations Observer Mission in Liberia from 1993 to 1995, where the Namibian military forces also took part in that peacekeeping process. 

Geingob said Opande displayed outstanding leadership in peacekeeping in general as a facilitator and negotiator throughout his long and illustrious military career, specifically for his role towards the independence of Namibia. 

Among other honourees of the same award are retired general and former cabinet minister Charles Namoloh, child welfare minister Doreen Sioka and Namibia High Commissioner to Botswana Asser Kapere.

Geingob also awarded five Namibians with the Most Excellent Order of the Eagle – First Class; seven with the Most Distinguished Order of Namibia – First Class; six with the Most Distinguished Order of Namibia – Third Class, and six with the award of the Most Distinguished Order of Namibia – Fifth Class. 

They were honoured for their meritorious contribution to the Namibian liberation struggle and to the country’s development. 

Honours were conveyed to personalities who have contributed significantly to the liberation of Namibia and to the country’s development through political, military, diplomatic, humanitarian, socio-economic development, education, health, media, reconstruction and the promotion of peace and justice.

- ktjitemisa@nepc.com.na 


2021-12-17  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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