Edward Mumbuu Jnr
Swapo stalwart and former home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has cautioned Namibians against a potential inquiry into the ‘Lubango dungeons’, saying it could bring endless problems.
Her remarks in an interview with this news agency come at the back of a motion tabled in the National Assembly by Swanu leader Tangeni Iijambo in June to review the successes and failures of Namibia’s ‘policy on national reconciliation’.
The motion was met with dismay and rejected by all Swapo members of parliament (MPs) prior to their 62-day break. They argued that it is misleading in that it was merely an attack on the ruling party, rather than a bona fide attempt to heal wounds of the past or uniting the nation. According to the former MP, her parents died at the hands of the apartheid regime through a sting operation which involved Namibians (her neighbours in northern Namibia), who reported them to their “colonial masters” for their work in aiding Swapo’s struggle. Their bodies have not been recovered to this day.
“Despite the bitterness I felt for my neighbours, there was nothing preventing me from going after them and doing whatever... The culprits are known,” she said.
The Lubango dungeons as they are notoriously known refers to the disposal of Swapo members by the party in the dungeons during the liberation struggle on accusations of their being South African spies.
“If South Africa could use our own brothers against us [Koevoet and SWATF], what could prevent them from using them as spies? I am not saying everyone was a spy.
It is unfortunate that some suffered while they were innocent,” she said.
For years now, families and friends of those Namibians who never returned home from exile have demanded answers on their whereabouts as they attempt to find closure. Their cries seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
For Iivula-Ithana, however, Namibians must forgive each other but “never forget” about the atrocities committed during the liberation struggle perpetrated against them by their kith and kin.
“[By probing the dungeons] we are looking for something that we will never be able to solve,” she said, before hinting that a civil war could easily emanate from such an inquiry.
Iijambo’s proposal suggests that Namibia must follow South Africa’s intervention which saw them establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which helped deal with atrocities committed during apartheid.