Response to the Namibian Sun article “Swapo liberation victory falsified – Diescho”
I have noted with interest an article published in the Namibian Sun newspaper 8th January 2019, front page headlined: “Swapo liberation victory falsified – Diescho”. The article distort the history of the liberation struggle of the people of Namibia led by their vanguard movement Swapo, and I wish to put things into perspective.
Swapo won a convincing political and military victory against South African apartheid illegal occupation of Namibia and not “falsified” as claimed by Professor Joseph Diescho.
In its 8 January 2019 edition, Namibian Sun newspaper published a front-page article, headlined: “Swapo liberation victory falsified - Diescho”. Professor Joseph Diescho was quoted in the article as having said: “The truth is there was no party that won a war. We lie when we say we defeated the white regime. We defeated nobody. It was an international peaceful negotiated settlement, with no winner no loser, Resolution 435”. Professor Diescho went on: “Swapo did not march in here with tanks to throw the white people out. The white people who are in Namibia were part of those negotiations. As a matter of fact, Swapo lost the election in 1989 – that mitigates against the lie that they defeated the enemy”.
It is not clear who Professor Diescho included when he said, “we lie when we say we defeated the white regime. We defeated nobody”. I must emphatically state that the word “we” used by Professor Diescho does not include the vast majority of the Namibian patriots, especially those who fought under the leadership of Swapo, some of whom paid the ultimate price with their lives and limbs for the independence of their country and the restoration of the human dignity of its people. The assertion by Professor Diescho that: “as a matter of fact Swapo lost the election in 1989” is nothing but utter sophistry, a forlorn attempt to re-write and distort the history of the liberation struggle of the people of Namibia led by their vanguard movement, Swapo. How anyone, let alone an academic like Professor Diescho can honestly claim that Swapo “lost” the independence elections in 1989, is simply beyond belief.
As for Professor Diescho’s assertion that, “Swapo did not march in here with tanks to throw the white people out,” he and others should be reminded that it has never been the policy of Swapo to “throw the white people out” from Namibia. The Swapo policy was to liberate all the Namibian people irrespective of colour or race, from colonial oppression and not to “throw the white people out” as propagated by the apartheid regime.
Professor Diescho should also be reminded that it was the sustained and relentless determination of the combined Angolan, Cuban and Combatants of the Peoples Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) that decisively destroyed the myth of the South African military invincibility at the epoch-making battle of Quito Cuanavale, which inflicted a humiliating defeat on the South African invading force. It is recognized by objective observers that the historic defeat of the South African military machine at Quito Cuanavale accelerated the inevitable demise of apartheid in South Africa. The erstwhile South African military leaders: General Magnus Malan, General Jan Geldenhuys and General George Meiring had conceded as much, however, grudgingly. Thus, Swapo did not need to “march in here with tanks to throw the white people out”. This is a deliberate and wilful distortion of the policy of the Swapo and the history of the liberation struggle, designed to mislead the young and future generations of Namibians.
The core and ultimate objective of Swapo and its military wing, the People’s Liberation Army (Plan) was to defeat the political, ideological and economic foundations that underpinned the apartheid illegal occupation of our country. Our struggle was “the continuation of politics by other means” to quote Carl von Clausewitz, a renowned German military strategist.
As a direct result of the multi-pronged Swapo strategy to wage the struggle at three mutually re-enforcing fronts: popular political mobilization at home; extensive and concerted diplomatic campaign abroad; and sustained, effective military operations at the battle front, the apartheid ideology was declared a crime against humanity by the international community. Similarly, the apartheid regime was suspended from the United Nations and from many international sports organizations. Importantly, the apartheid economy was crippled by international economic sanctions and arms embargo.
Swapo was recognized by the United Nations and progressive governments the world over as the sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people. This recognition was resoundingly confirmed at the 1989 independence election when Swapo won 41 out of 72 seats to the Constituent Assembly or 57 percent of the votes. These are indisputable and immutable historical facts. Attempts to deny or distort that victory can only be aimed at the desecration of the memories of the Namibian heroines and heroes who paid with their lives as well as those who, at great risk, provided shelter, medicine, food and water and information on the whereabouts of enemy forces inside the country.
Namibian citizens have the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of expression, including the right to criticize the policies and perceived deficiencies in the governance of the country. And, I for one will always fiercely defend the unfettered exercise of such rights. But neither anger at, nor frustration with the governance of the country by the Swapo-Party led government should lead any Namibian citizen, including Professor Joseph Diescho to call into question the glorious history of the Namibian people. That Namibia is free, sovereign and independent from daily humiliation of apartheid oppression should be the pride of every Namibian citizen irrespective of party political affiliation.
Those who fought bravely under the Swapo flag have the moral, historical and political obligation to steadfastly defend the gains of the struggle.
10. Namibian citizens should find a reasonable equilibrium of temperament that checks the climate of division which some appear to relish.
* Ambassador Tuliameni Kalomoh, Special Advisor to the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
New Era Reporter
2019-02-01 09:50:57 19 days ago