Helvy Shaanika Ongwediva-The family of the late Dr Michael Vinnikov Mykhaylovich, a renowned ophthalmologist at Oshakati State Hospital, have been left in shock after his tombstone was stolen by unknown people. Mykhaylovich, a Ukrainian national, was one of Namibia’s friends who supported the country during and after the liberation struggle. He died at Oshakati in 2004 after suffering a heart attack. According to Dr Polishohuk Olesksandr, who is Mykhaylovich’s relative, the family discovered the tombstone was missing on Monday when they visited his grave. Olesksandr said whoever stole the tombstone must have known the Mykhaylovich family’s movements and assumed the theft would not be discovered. “One of his sons left Namibia for good. Obviously the person that stole the tombstone thought the whole family has left Namibia – but I remained behind,” said Olesksandr. Saddened by the incident, Olesksandr said the late Mykhaylovich loved Namibia so much that he sacrificed a lot during and after the independence struggle. Before independence, Mykhaylovich had worked as an eye specialist at Swapo refugee camps in Angola. Seven years after Namibia got its independence (in 1997), he decided to move to Namibia with his family. He died six years later. His family laid him to rest in Namibia, as was his wish. The tombstone was worth N$25,000 when it was erected. His son Dima, also a medical doctor, decided to continue working at Oshakati hospital after his father’s death. But his contract came to an end a few months ago and he decided to go back to his country of birth for good. “It looks as if the person who stole the tombstone knew that his son was not coming back, that is why he stole it now, thinking that the theft will not be discovered,” said Olesksandr. “People go to church, they should know that stealing from the dead is a grave sin. What this man (the late Mykhaylovich) did for Namibia is great and this is how they are treating him,” said an emotional Olesksandr. Oshana Regional Police Commander Commissioner Rauha Amwele confirmed the incident, adding that a case of theft was opened yesterday by Olesksandr and is being investigated. “We suspect undertakers or tombstone suppliers. Obviously an ordinary person would not just steal a tombstone on which is engraved somebody else’s name. In fact, it was only a headpiece that was stolen, which means whoever stole it will still have to find the top cover and the sidepieces. Where would an ordinary person get those?” asked Amwele. Amwele said this is the first case of tombstone theft ever brought to her attention in Oshana. According to her, there were claims of vandalism at graveyards in the region in which photo frames on tombstones were smashed, but nobody came forward to report the vandalism.
2017-09-06 09:08:10 1 years ago