Dr Rihupisa Kandando
It was on 9 August 2012, a decade ago that a son of the soil, friend and a comrade in the liberation struggle spearheaded by black national liberation movement in the personality of Karupumbura Veii passed on.
I will not use his other name Gerson because people will think I am referring to his brother Gerson Hitjevi Veii, for those who do not know him, he was the former president of Swanu, the embodiment of our people’s aspirations, the first Namibian to be incarcerated at notorious Robben Island where the cream of our people were held, a place of white men revenge, buried at Heroes Acre during February 2015, whose only sin he committed in the eyes of the diabolic Pretoria regime is when on 4 December 1966 asked the whereabouts of Jason Mutumbulwa, Johny Ya Otto and Nathaniel Maxuilili after the Omugulugwobashe battle of 26 August 1966 and when the racist Pretoria in their attempt to probe the incident the dice fell on the three compatriots and as a result, Gerson Veii called for tit-for tat so that three whites can account for the missing of the three compatriots.
This is part of our rich history unknown to friends, family, Namibians of all walks of life, comrades of the three and most importantly our political leaders who went into exile and returned back in 1989 and know nothing about this, and who don’t wish to know or alternatively who know this but are involved in banal disinformation campaign to relegate other people contribution to the footnote because of ethnic considerations and party-political hegemony.
Paying memory to him is important because he operated from a platform of a national liberation movement that was an outcast simply because of strong adherence to Pan Africanism, black nationalism, black consciousness which were antidotes to white liberalism and oppression; that advocated an ideology of establishing people’s republic as opposed to ruling elite republic that currently is characterized by looting people’s resources which is a high treason ; a platform that opposed both Pretoria’s internal neo-colonial designs and concessionary politics spearheaded by DTA and tribal clowns; that struggled to convince the international community that baptizing Swapo as the sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people does not have the same synergy, latitude and altitude to liberate our country in a situation which by definition is a product of many and a sectarian and myopic exercise that drove the wedge between the national liberation movement and curtailed a section of our national liberation movement to prosecute its share of liberation struggle and ultimately tribalism, disunity, balkanization, regionalism of which currently we are complaining in the current political dispensation.
The above constitute the reasons why late Karupumbura Veii’s name may not deliberately be in the annals of our Namibian history on account of having operated under the banner of a national liberation movement (i.e Swanu) that was an outcast and whose political programme was dictated mainly by the minimum demands, wishes and aspirations of Namibians which was the total and unconditional liberation.
Those who had conceived revolutionary duty, historic responsibility and commitment to our just and noble cause are invited to highlight the heavy sacrifices our people including Karupumbura Veii made to our present and future succeeding generations.
Late Veii heeded the clarion call as part of the national liberation movement by engaging in underground, political and diplomatic struggle as a dialectical response (resistance) to white oppression within the parameters developed by UN General Assembly Resolution of 1960 regarding Principles of Decolonization for Nations under the Colonial Occupation in which methods of struggle by any means necessary were endorsed.
The narrative that he (or his national liberation movement) did not apply one of the methods of the struggle which is armed struggle and therefore did not fight for national liberation is pure rubbish. Can the same narrative apply to Tjongarero, Maxuilili, Hoebeb, Thlabanello, Witbooi and the rest of the Namibians who belong to my sister party Swapo and who did not go abroad to join the theatre of military operation? Should they be equally labelled that they did not fight? Nonsense!
Late Veii contribution may be summed up in few paragraphs: He evaded military conscription on ground of principle that was imposed on able bodied Namibians aged 16-35 and left for exile in July 1980 with energic, vibrant, dynamic and youthful Willy Kusch.
He took the Namibian political and diplomatic struggle back to Nicosia, Cyprus in 1982 where his national liberation movement in 1968 was expelled from Afro-Asian People’s Organization (AAPSO) on grounds of denouncing co-habitation with imperialism under the guise or pretext of peaceful co-existence.
I had a distinct and single honour to work with him for three years in the south of Federal Republic of Germany to frustrate the efforts of Pik Botha and Johann Franz Strauss, leader of CSU in Bavaria that were done in connivance with the European conservative elements such as Winterton, Naude from UK and France respectively, to promote Pretoria internal political dispensation in Namibia against the majority of our people who were desirous for implementation of Resolution 435 of UN Security Council.
In a post-colonial dispensation, he remained the engine of our politics that defied modern Namibia with its material attraction, detractions and opportunism in fulfilment of what Steve Biko and Uatjindua Ndjoze respectively once remarked: “that leadership is incompatible with security and comfort” and “it takes both convictions and commitments for a revolutionary to be glued to his political principles.”
His contributions are non-exhaustive and include establishing contacts with Schlettwein Foundation in Basel that paved the way for repatriation of relevant Swanu documents on liberation struggle, represented us at the ECN Parties Liaison Committee (PLC), contact person with the Embassy of Cuba during the early 2000.
Despite the trials and tribulations, the ups and downs, he left a legacy that represents Welwitschia mirabilis and as much as I cannot claim to know and familiar with most of his ideals he cherished and lived by, I cannot disclaim him.
He passed on a decade ago, but we take comfort from Soren Kierkegaard who once remarked: “The tyrant dies and his rule ends but the martyr dies and his rule begins.”
* Dr Rihupisa Kandando was an activist of the liberation struggle and also served as the president of Swanu during 1999 - 2007