Zambezi celebrates independence in style…Mbumba inspired by massive crowd

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Zambezi celebrates independence in style…Mbumba inspired by massive crowd

KM – Despite the scorching heat, thousands of Namibians and Zambezi residents turned up to celebrate Namibia’s 34th Independence Day anniversary held yesterday in Katima Mulilo. 

Notably, the keynote speaker, President Nangolo Mbumba did not hide his joy as the public turned up in big numbers to celebrate in unity and diversity. 

“I have come several times to the Zambezi region starting in 1989. In all kinds of capacities, minister this… minister that… I have never experienced this type of unity, this type of brotherhood. I have never experienced a meeting as big as this. I am more than sure that wherever the founding president and the second president are; they are proud of you, the Zambezi region. 

In honour of late president Hage Geingob, Mbumba enthusiastically told the huge crowd who stood in the scorching sun in a joyous mood, “President Hage Geingob loved the army, the soldiers but above all, he loved the people – and that’s what made him a politician. Let us enjoy this day. Let us celebrate and let everyone in their regions know that the Zambezi region is truly great. When you make a politician happy, this is what you get. 

I wish all Namibians a happy 34th independence anniversary.”

He emphasised peace, unity, and harmony, cautioning those who are planning to disturb the peace, unity, and economic development in Namibia that they are enemies of all people. 

He reminded that true citizens of Namibia should not support or follow individuals or groups who have chosen the path of division instead of the path of unity. 

In this regard, he called upon the security cluster to redouble their efforts to ensure that Namibia remains safe from external and internal criminal threats, not only for its citizens but also for visitors and tourists from abroad. 

“Let us not become destroyers of our future and that of coming generations by practising tribalism, racism, regionalism, corruption, crime, and all similar destructive habits. Rather, let us become wise nation builders, pulling together in one direction, to decisively win the second phase of the struggle for economic freedom and shared prosperity of our people,” he cautioned.

Since this is an election year, Mbumba called on all to play their roles in ensuring that law and order prevail to hold peaceful, credible, and fair elections as done in the past. 

“We all have a collective responsibility to ensure that Namibia maintains its reputation as a peaceful and stable country,” he said.

The celebration began with colourful Namibia Defence Force parades, followed by a fly-by of fighter jets in the Namibian colours, and ended with paratroopers displaying a freefall.

Various cultural groups and the Ndilimani cultural group entertained the crowd who arrived as early as 06h00 for the big day.

The stadium is estimated to accommodate about 11 000 people. However, the crowd on the day was way more than 30 000 – leaving all three huge tents, in addition to the pavilion, filled to the brim.

The huge crowd left President Nangolo Mbumba with a sense of happiness and pride. 

He highlighted the celebration of Namibia’s independence this year in the Zambezi region provides an opportunity for citizens to contemplate the meaning of freedom and the value of peace, stability, and unity, and how it was acquired. 

“It did not come by itself. It came through sacrifices. It came through crossing rivers of blood. It gives us an opportunity to recall the important role played by ordinary people in the Zambezi region who have contributed to the independence and freedom of Namibia. It was here that many of our citizens escaped on foot and through canoes either to Zambia and or Botswana across the Zambezi River and its tributaries,” Mbumba reminded. 

Mbumba said Namibians can look forward to a bright future, citing massive oil and gas discoveries that have been made in the ocean. 

He added the green hydrogen investments are about to materialise, with the latest budget of N$100 billion aimed at creating more jobs and giving citizens much-needed disposable income. 

“As a result, we all, including the private sector, SME sector, and citizens need to hold hands with the government and with each other to galvanise the economic revival of Namibia for increased job opportunities and development,” he noted. In this regard, he said in the Zambezi region as in all other regions, the government has taken concrete steps to promote economic advancement through the construction of critical infrastructure. 

Mbumba cited the construction of the 60-kilometre-long electrical line, starting at Ivilivinzi to Impalila Island, connecting the localities of Mbalasinte and 10 Kasika, which has ensured that significant economic growth, will take place in these communities. 

The electrification of Impalila and surrounding areas will benefit businesses and boost the tourism industry, amongst other things, he pointed out.

The government has additionally extended the rural electrification grid to most government infrastructure region-wide. 

Therefore, he proudly said 90% of the Zambezi government infrastructure are connected to the main grid. 

Moreover, he maintained the upgrading to the bitumen standard of roads MR 125 (Kongola, Sangwali, Linyanyi, Liselo, and Kongola-Kamenga) and MR 3508 (Namalubi-Isize-Luhonono) will increase the movement of goods and services as well as new business opportunities in the Zambezi region.

Equally, he informed that the government has availed N$8 million to revive the Kalimbeza Rice Project and approved that a sugar plantation be established on the part of Kalimbeza, as well as a sugar processing plant in Katima Mulilo. 

Vice President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah emphasised that a country without safety and security will fall.

“I can say with confidence as your former Minister of International Relations and Cooperation that Namibia’s bar internationally has gone high, that our democracy has matured and we can manage what we set ourselves,” she stated. 

Cabinet ministers as well as various political party leaders were also in attendance.

Zambezi governor Lawrence Sampofu reminded the residents that the struggle for independence did not come on a silver platter, as many battles were fought in the region before many crossed into exile, namely Zambia and Angola.

“Today, we remember how our beloved country got its independence through a protracted and bitter struggle. We honour the freedom fighters who fought bravely to emancipate our country and people to be free from the shackles of slavery. As a nation, we need to hold unity, working together towards economic development and progress,” he remarked.