By Confidente Reporter
NAMIBIA’S stalwart for independence and veteran politician Hidipo Hamutenya affectionately known as “HH” has died in Windhoek’s Lady Pohamba hospital yesterday at the age of 77.
Hamutenya succumbed to a long illness and was about four weeks ago rushed to hospital while attending a wedding when he collapsed. He was subsequently airlifted from the north to Windhoek where he died in the early morning of Wednesday, October 6.
Hamutenya, a long-time leading member of the leading Swapo party, was a member of cabinet from independence in 1990 to 2004. He was defeated in a bid for the party’s presidential nomination in 2004 and left Swapo to form an opposition group, the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), in 2007. He was however forced to step down as RDP President on February 28, 2015 and rejoined SWAPO on August 28, 2015.
One of his longtime friends, former Speaker of the National Assembly Theo-Ben Gurirab said that HH’s passing is a great loss to his family and country. “His death is a great loss to his family first and foremost and it’s a great personal loss to me as someone that knew him since 1960. I will always remember him as a friend and we did so much together. The last light moment we shared was in September during a wedding in the north,” Gurirab said.
Former Ambassador Tuliameni Kalomoh explained that he and HH have been friends for a long time and that he will remember him as a sincere man. “I’ll remember him as a generous, very sincere, hardworking man who was loyal to the struggle, his family and friends. He was a deep thinker, master strategists and a bright man,” Kalomoh said.
Kalomoh added that as a true friend, HH and his family attended his son’s wedding in the northern town of Omuthiya. “It was a social re-union for us.”
DTA president McHenry Venaani said, “Hidipo Hamutenya is one such icon. And there are many others. Hidipo’s legacy will reverberate in the echoes of time and everything that he sacrificed and has done for this country will never be forgotten,” said Venaani.
From the sacrifices he made during the liberation struggle by going into exile in Zambia and other countries, to persistently petitioning the UN for Namibia’s independence, to being one of the members of the Constituent Assembly who wrote the Constitution of this country, to serving as a Member of Cabinet and Minister in various ministries and as a believer in the importance of a multi-party democracy being one of the founders of the RDP and serving as the Leader of the then Official Opposition – these are just some of the hallmarks of the great legacy that has been left behind by a brave son of the soil.
My only regret is that this legacy was never celebrated whilst he was with us. Let us take a lesson from this and celebrate the lives of living legends and icons amongst us whilst they themselves are here not only to share their stories, but to know that they are appreciated and Namibia is thankful and forever indebted to them.
To his family and community in Odibo, Ohangwena Region; to his brothers and sisters in the SWAPO
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