Staff Writer

NAMIBIANS from all walks of life, particularly politicians, have since the departure of Kazenambo Kazenambo (KK), been singing him praises.

Among the first to express condolences to the family of KK (58) was President Hage Geingob who said the former Swapo MP will be remembered for his contributions towards the development of the country. “During this hour of sadness for the family, president Geingob extends sincere condolences to the family, comrades and friends,” the Presidency said in a short social media post.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader, McHenry Venaani, also expressed sadness over the death of the former minister. He said death has robbed Namibia of a dedicated servant of the people and an individual unwavering in his beliefs and ideals.

During a memorial service held at Okahandja on Monday, former Minister of Health and Social Services, Richard Kamwi, said Kazenambo, who was affectionately known as KK, as a freedom fighter from an early age whose passion was the freedom of Namibia: “Undoubtedly he must have been thrilled on that morning of 21 March 1990 when the flag of a new Namibia was raised for the first time.”

Kamwi said KK was a straight talker who spoke his mind. “However he was such a friendly and honest man. But when you differed on an opinion and/or against a principle, then you will get the vent,” Kamwi said adding that the two men were neighbours in the Otjozondjupa region where thy owned farms.

“The late Kazenambo has never shied away from criticising the Government and its failures. His presence was imposing and he was a towering political figure with a low tolerance for mismanagement in whatever form it manifested itself,” Venaani said.

He also described the former minister as a man of great magnitude, who was held in high regard by his colleagues. Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, also earlier described the late KK as a sharp-tongued politician who had Namibia’s best interest at heart.

KK’s recent outburst was his sharp criticism of the government over its agreement with the Germans over the genocide issue. He strongly believed that Namibians had been short changed in the deal. Kamwi said KK was one of the comrades who rose through the Swapo ranks and was an active member of the Swapo Youth League (SYL) where he served in the national executive and the Central Committee (CC).

“He advocated social justice in all its manifestations in line with the political programme of the Swapo Party. Thus it was no surprise when President Hifikepunye Pohamba appointed him Minister of Youth, National Service, Sports and Culture.”

Kamwi quoted President Pohamba telling the 2007 Swapo youth league 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 such youth serving in my Cabinet.”

Kamwi said KK rose through the ranks of Government and the Swapo Party to become a formidable voice on national scale. He was a minister and a member of the CC and Politburo (PB) of the ruling party. “But behind the image of Kazenambo in public there was a friendly, down to earth and forgiving type of Kazenambo that a few (people) knew. His humanity always got the better of him. I have been amazed at how KK could make jokes with someone he had exchanged strong views with.

“In a big house like Swapo views are not always the same. This is probably true towards the end of his life.” Kamwi further described the late KK as a messenger of good hope and reconciliation. “He spoke but seemed like he was speaking to a wall. It hurt him. It infuriated him. All he yearned for was an ear and a sort of reconciliation for the sake of the party.”

“He spoke about the genocide. He spoke about the fairness in resources distribution. He spoke about unity, particularly in the Swapo Party. And he spoke about healing the Swapo Party, particularly after the 2017 congress and the concomitant degenerative Fishrot scandal. He spoke about racism and tribalism. Did we listen?

“To the body politics, we have lost a voice of reason and clarity. To the young people of Namibia, the late Kazenambo should inspire you to be your own person and still be respectful of others and their opinions.”

Kamwi said in the Winter of Death, Namibia had lost so many loved ones and productive citizens including Kazenambo and implored everyone to adhere to Covid-19 protocols by wearing masks, sanitising hands, observing social distancing and vaccination. “By doing so we will minimise death leading to woes and tribulations. We are not yet out of the woods.”

KK, who was accorded a state funeral, will be buried on Saturday, next to his great grandfather at Okapuka area, about 30 kilometres out of Windhoek.