Former minister of health Dr Richard Kamwi said in the late Kazenambo Kazenambo, the country’s politics have lost a “voice of reason and clarity”.
Kazenambo died last Tuesday in a Windhoek hospital. He had battled Covid-19 for weeks. The former youth and sports minister was laid to rest on Saturday in the Okapuka area, where his great-grandfather Nikodemus Kavikunua was buried. President Hage Geingob conferred a state funeral on the late former minister, affectionately known as KK. Kamwi was speaking during a conversation with Universal Media’s Unomengi Kauapirura at the late Kazenambo’s residence outside Windhoek near Okapuka on Tuesday.
He said the late Kazenambo was a straight talker who always spoke his mind, but was a friendly and honest man. “He spoke about racism and tribalism. Did we listen? Can we listen? Are we listening to this outcry? With Kazenambo, you didn’t have to agree with everything he said. But, I think he left us a legacy of some issues that need solutions. If we can implement one or two, we would have honoured his legacy somehow”.
“He spoke for all. He spoke to the elders, the youth, urban and rural areas. Every Namibian has a word or two to recall from the late comrade Kazenambo,” Kamwi noted.
“When you differed on an opinion and/or against a principle, then you will get the vent. He was that type of person. The question is: did we listen? I am certain that many have listened. I am hopeful that his venting, especially on recommendations and suggestions, we as older generation must heed,” said the former health minister.
He added that Kazenambo was a freedom fighter from an early age, who had a passion for the freedom and independence of Namibia.
“Undoubtedly, he must have been thrilled on that morning of 21 March 1990 when the flag of a new Namibia was hoisted for the first time. In so doing, he was hopeful and expectant that all shall be well in a free and independent Namibia,” he said.
“When I speak of him as a freedom fighter; when I refer to him as a comrade, I mean he was one of the comrades who rose through the ranks of the Swapo party,” he continued.
According to Kamwi, the late Kazenambo advocated for social justice in all its manifestations in line with the political programme of Swapo. Thus, it was not by accident that President Hifikepunye Pohamba appointed him as a youth minister.
“I remember at the 2007 congress of the Swapo Party Youth League when President Pohamba told the congress, ‘you asked me to appoint a youth to head the ministry of youth, and for youth to be in Cabinet… I did so, and comrade Kazenambo Kazenambo is one of such young people serving in my Cabinet’,” he said, adding that this prompted jubilant ululations from the congress delegates.
He observed that behind the image of the late Kazenambo in public, there was a friendly, down-to-earth and forgiving man that a few knew. “His humanity always got the best of him,” Kamwi remembered, and he had also been amazed at how the late Kazenambo would make jokes with someone he exchanged strong views with.
In 1984, Kazenambo travelled to Angola, where he received military training. In 1986, he joined Swapo’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan), as a combatant. He also worked as a journalist for the Namibia Press Agency (Nampa) and the Voice of Namibia radio programme.
After independence, Kazenambo was elected to the fourth National Assembly of Namibia in 2005. He then served as deputy minister of Local and Regional Government, Housing and Rural Development until 2010, and as minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture until 2012. He was a member of Swapo’s politburo.