PDM bemoans delay in adoption of genocide remembrance day…as Chief Kapuuo is commemorated

Tujoromajo Kasuto

At the 44th Commemoration of the late Chief Clemens Kapuuo Day, Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani issued a clarion call on the government to complete the promulgation of the Genocide Remembrance Day saying it is ‘’wildly disturbing that the government has still not declared the day’’.

The afflicted communities have requested that the government proclaim a day of commemoration in honor of the thousands of Namibians who died in the German-sanctioned genocide at the turn of the twentieth century.

Venaani said he has on two occasions written to the President Hage Geingob, ‘’most recently last year I wrote to President Hage Geingob requesting clarity on the finalization of the promulgation of the day’’.

Last year, Home Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi told the media that his ministry would soon send the final draft of the proclamation of a genocide memory day to Cabinet for a final decision, but no decision has yet been taken.

Chief Kapuuo ‘’believed that people should be directly represented in matters affecting their interests and was a proponent of the notion the direct descendants of those who were killed in the genocide between 1904-1908 should sit at the table when issues affecting their interests are being discussed’’, said Venaani.

Venaani shared that Kapuuo believed that once Namibia’s destiny is in the hands of its people, like the sun will illuminate every corner of the land with a brilliant flame.

Kapuuo is remembered as a leader who cherished the power conferred on him by the people, exercised it discreetly and welcomed their supervision.

Chief Kapuuo served his people wholeheartedly and believed that effectiveness of all work by any leader, should ultimately be measured by real benefits the people have reaped, by the improvements in their lives and by how well their rights and interests are protected.

According to Venaani, Chief Kapuuo wanted fairness to all, ‘’that people’s expectations for a better life does not allow leaders to be complacent or slack, but requires them to work harder to enable everyone to share more fruits of development in a fairer way and move steadily towards common prosperity’’.

Venaani noted that it is sad that 44 years after Chief Kapuuo’s passing, the specifics of his death still remain shrouded in mystery and secrecy. “We owe it to Chief Kapuuo to not only enjoy the fruits of his labour for which he ultimately had to pay with his life, but to also find the answers to the questions of his wife, descendants and followers which remain unanswered till this day’’.

He said he has written to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, to ask for the declassification of files which dealt with the death of Chief Kapuuo.

This is with the sole purpose of remembrance of this chapter in Namibian history to be told with the accuracy and dignity befitting of a man of the stature he truly was.

He grieved that it is disheartening to note that the government has time and again selectively celebrated heroes of this country. In a post-colonial Namibia public memory of the liberation war prioritizes the armed struggle from exile.

‘’This master narrative of national liberation, having become the new nation’s foundation myth,legitimizes 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.’’

Venaani demanded that this narrative be changed to unity-in-diversity discourses and run alongside, nation building, based on a national culture forged through the joint struggle against oppression and colonialism.

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