By: Tjizouye Kazombungo
PDM leader McHenry Venaani has accused government of selectively celebrating heroes of the country.
Venaani said this during the 44th commemoration of chief Clemence Kapuuo Day on Tuesday.
According to him, he wrote President Hage Geingob requesting clarity on the finalisation of the promulgation of the day.
“In a post-colonial Namibia, public memory of the liberation war prioritises the armed struggle from exile. This master narrative of national liberation, having become the new nation’s foundation myth, legitimises the power of the post-colonial Swapo elite as the sole, heroic liberators from apartheid and colonialism, which could not have been further from the truth,” he expressed.
Venaani said the narrative must be changed to unity-in-diversity discourses and run alongside a period of conceptual emphasis on nation-building.
“Chief Clemens Kapuuo is the personification of an individual less celebrated. His sacrifices deserve to be celebrated in the higher echelons of this country’s history,” he said.
Venaani added that Kapuuo believed people should be directly represented in matters affecting their interests.
“It is wildly distressing that 114 years on and the government has still not declared a Genocide Remembrance Day.”
He stated that Kapuuo’s death remains shrouded in mystery and secrecy.
“We owe it to Chief Kapuuo to enjoy the fruits of his labour for which he ultimately had to pay his life and find the answers to the questions of his wife, descendants, and followers, which remain unanswered till this day,” he said.
Hence he said he wrote to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to ask for the declassification of files that dealt with the death of Kapuuo.
“This sentiment remains true today, and I hope his words, which I fully endorse, will not fall on deaf ears with our present leaders,” said Venaani.
Furthermore, he expressed that Kapuuo believed that once Namibia’s destiny is in the hands of the people, like the sun, it would illuminate every corner of the land with a brilliant flame.
He also said Kapuuo believed in adhering to the masses as leaders, recognising that the people are fundamental in deciding our future and destiny.
According to Venaani, Kapuuo fully respected the people’s wishes, experiences, rights, and roles.
“He cherished the power conferred on him by the people, exercised it discreetly and welcomed their supervision, served his people wholeheartedly.”
In this vein, he said the living conditions in these informal settlements are shocking, deplorable, and intolerable.
“For as long as we turn a blind eye to matters such as the housing crisis in this country, we betray the legacy of the great Chief Clemens Kapuuo.
Chief Kapuuo wanted fairness to all,” said Venaani.
Venaani said people’s expectations for a better life do not allow leaders to be complacent or slack but require them to work harder to enable everyone to share more fruits of development.
Venaani urged everyone to share the stories of Kapuuo’s life in their homes, at our workplaces, and in their churches.
“Our history is not always recorded in the books. Ours is oral history. If you do not keep telling your children the stories, you will be doing a disservice to great countrymen like Chief Clemence Kapuuo will never be forgotten.”