Witbooi Is Overrated, Says Venaani

DTA president McHenry Venaani says one of Namibia’s heroes, Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, is overrated and that there are leaders who deserve better accolades than him.

Venaani made the comments in the National Assembly where he questioned why Witbooi is praised more than other late leaders such as Samuel Maharero and Cornelius Fredericks, who in his opinion contributed more to the country than Witbooi.

“Let’s stop this overrating,” he said.

He said Maharero started the war against the colonial Germans yet no statue or street is named after him.

Venaani was reacting to Swapo member of parliament Lucia Witbooi who congratulated the government for renaming a military base in Ketmanshoop to Kaptein Witbooi Barracks.

“Therefore, on behalf of the family and the Khaxatsus community, we appreciate this gesture from our government through the Ministry of Defence,” she said.

She described Witbooi as one of the first fearless fighters who took up arms against the Germans for the liberation of the country.

“A fearless fighter with the Bible in one hand and a gun in the other,” she said.

Witbooi’s face became a national symbol when it was printed on the N$10 dollar banknote since independence.

Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, was not happy with Venaani’s comments.

She told Venaani that bestowing hero’s status depends on individual merits and it would not be fair to judge Witbooi based on the conduct of other people.

Witbooi is one of Namibia’s national heroes identified at the inauguration of the country’s Heroes’ Acre in 2002. It was at that event that former President Sam Nujoma praised Witbooi saying the late leader was the first African leader to take up arms against the “German imperialists and foreign occupiers in defence of our land and territorial integrity”.

“We, the new generation of the Land of the Brave, are inspired by Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi’s revolutionary action in combat against the German imperialists who colonised and oppressed our people. To his revolutionary spirit and his visionary memory we humbly offer our honour and respect,” he said.

Meanwhile Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP) parliamentarian Salmon Fleermuys caused a stir in the National Assembly on the same day when he brought up the issue of former Koevoet members and South African colonial soldiers during the discussion of the Ministry of Defence budget.

Land reform minister Utoni Nujoma immediately intervened and warned the new MP not abuse the government’s decision to put aside what happened in the past in the name for reconciliation.

Fleermuys is a former soldier who fought for the South African army against Plan fighters.

“You were supposed to be prosecuted. We are not going to allow you to defend an evil apartheid system here. We cannot tolerate that nonsense,” Nujoma said.

Some members of parliament said Namibians were forced to join the South African army but defence minister Penda ya Ndakolo, a former freedom fighter disagreed.

“We know our history. People joined voluntarily,” he said.

Ya Ndakolo who mostly referred to fellow lawmakers as “brothers and sisters” warned them to avoid “war in the [lawmaking house]”.

Source : The Namibian