Nujoma is a visionary leader, says Geingob

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Sharon Kavhu

Windhoek - Namibian President and current Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Hage Geingob, has described the country’s Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma, as a visionary and courageous leader.

In his congratulatory message on Nujoma’s 90th birthday last week, Geingob said the Founding Father of the nation was a freedom fighter and courageous commander of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the armed wing of Swapo Party which spearheaded the fight for the country’s independence.

“The life on earth of our Founding President and Father of the Nation, Comrade Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma has been devoted to serving with utmost fidelity the people of our land,” said Geingob.

He said Dr Nujoma took up the fight and the struggle against the illegal occupation of Namibia by the apartheid South Africa regime at a very young age.

According to the Namibian President, the journey of struggle and the path of justice for the oppressed majority forced Nujoma into exile to wage under Swapo, the long and bitter war for the liberation of Namibia.

“A visionary leader of Swapo, freedom fighter and courageous Commander of the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), Comrade Nujoma led Namibians to a decisive victory in 1990. Our independence and the birth of a new nation, for which Namibians owe Comrade Nujoma an immeasurable debt of gratitude, bears the imprint of his heroic deeds and a life of commitment to the liberty and the unity of the Namibian people,” Geingob added. 

He said after Namibia’s independence, the Founding Father began another difficult journey for socio-economic justice in a democratic, united and independent nation. 

As highlighted by Geingob, Nujoma’s legendary leadership has resulted in Namibians living a better live. Nujoma has laid a foundation that ensures that the people of Namibia are treated with respect and have equal opportunities.

“The journey of prosperity and inclusive growth as part of our second struggle for economic emancipation remains incomplete. However, as Namibians, we are conscious that whenever Comrade Nujoma undertook a mission, he pursued it with steely determination. It is why we are immensely and eternally grateful for the solid foundations Comrade Nujoma has laid in an independent Namibia for our people to pursue a life of dignity and equality of opportunity,” the President said.

He said that the presence of Nujoma remains an abundant source of strength and inspiration.

“As we recount his rich legacy, admirable journey of victory over tyranny and celebrate this auspicious day, 12th of May 2019, the 90th Birthday of an outstanding son, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Namibia and her people, I would like to wish our beloved Founding Father a happy 90th birthday.  Many happy returns Cde Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma,” said Geingob.

Nujoma’s 90th belated birthday commemorations will be held on May 17 at his farm in Etunda, Omusati region, followed by festivities on 18 May at his home village.

The Namibian Founding Father is a revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist who served three terms as the first President of Namibia at the attainment of independence in 1990.

Nujoma was born on 12 May 1929. He received his primary education from the Okahao Finnish Mission School from 1937 to 1945.

In 1946 he moved to the  coastal  town  of  Walvis Bay,  where  he got  exposed  to  modern  world politics  by  meeting  soldiers  who  had  been  brought  there  during  World  War II.  At  the  beginning  of  1949,  Nujoma  went  to live  in  Windhoek where he  started  working  for  the  South  African  Railways. 

On  6  May  1956, he got married to Kovambo Theopoldine Katjimune. With  a  deep  passion  for  politics  and  yearning  to  see  his  people  free from  the  restricted  pass  law  system  and  confined  according  to  ethnic groupings, Nujoma resigned from the South African Railways in 1957 at the age of 29. He did so with the purpose of devoting his time to politics.

In 1959,  he  was  elected  Leader  of  the  Owambo  People's  Organisation  (OPO) which was aimed  at  ending  the  then  contract  system  and  ending  the  South African colonial administration by placing South West Africa (SWA) under the UN  Trusteeship  system. 

Nujoma  petitioned  the  UN  in  the  late  fifties, demanding  that  the  then  South  West  Africa  be  placed  under  the  UN Trusteeship system. In   April   1960,   he   attended   the   All   African   People's   Conference organised by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana against the French Atom Bomb  test  in  the  Sahara  Desert.

After  Ghana, Nujoma  went  to Liberia  and  finally  reached  the  USA in  June  1960  and  petitioned  before  the UN  Fourth  Committee  of  the  General  Assembly  demanding  the  end  of  the South  African colonial  administration  of  the then SWA. 

Meanwhile,  the  South  West Africa  People's  Organisation (Swapo)  was  formed  on 19 April  1960  and  Nujoma was elected as the President of the movement in absentia. In March 1966, he  returned  to  Namibia  from  exile  but was  arrested  and  deported  to Zambia.

 Nujoma organised  the  first armed  struggle  on  26  August  1966. Since   Namibia's   independence in   March   1990,   this   event   has   been commemorated annually as part of Heroes' Day. From  1977  to  1978,  Nujoma led  the  Swapo  negotiations  team between the Western Five Contact group and South Africa on the one hand, and   the   Frontline   States,   Nigeria,   and   Swapo   on   the   other,   which culminated  in  the  adoption  of  the  UN  Security  Council  Resolution  435 (1978).  Thereafter  on  19  March  1989,  the  signing  of  the  cease-fire agreement   with   South   Africa   took   place,   which   resulted   in   the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 435. In  Namibia's  first  democratic  elections  for  a  Constituent  Assembly, Swapo  gained  a  majority  and  Nujoma  was  sworn  in  as  the  First President  of  the  Republic  of  Namibia  and  Commander-in-Chief  of  the Namibian  Defence  Force. 

He  was  re-elected  for  two  more  terms  of  office in 1994   and  1999  respectively,  in  recognition  of  his  wise  and  dynamic leadership.  Through  his  leadership,  Swapo  adopted  the  Policy  of  National Reconciliation under the motto: One Namibia, One Nation. He successfully united  all  Namibians into  a  peaceful,  tolerant  and  democratic  society governed  by  the  rule  of  law.

In  recognition  of  his  dedication  to  his  selfless sacrifice   to   the   national   liberation   struggle   and   nation   building,   the Parliament  of  the  Republic  of  Namibia  enacted  legislation in  April  2005, declaring him the Founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation.

He stepped    down    on    21    March    2005 to    enable his    successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba, to  take  over  the  reins.  He  served  as  the leader  of the Swapo  Party  for  47  years and handed over  the  power  to  Pohamba in 2007.

 Nujoma was  awarded  honours  and  awards  for  his  outstanding leadership,  courage  and  total  commitment  towards  the  creation  of  a  non-racial  society  in  Namibia.

 

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