By Confidente Reporter
FORMER President Hifikepunye Pohamba has strongly voiced out against tribalism warning Namibians to learn from experiences of how it has ravaged other African countries.
“If we follow tribalism we will end up in war. Tribalism will not work in this country. We have successfully fought and liberated the country. Tribalism will only push us backward into war. We cannot afford to lose more lives because of tribalism. Let us remain as Namibians and united,” said the former President.
Pohamba was addressing hordes of mourners, including businesspeople and community leaders at Ondobe, in Ohangwena region, who attended the funeral of Hilja Neikaku-Nelulu, the wife of Oukwanyama senior headman George Nelulu, who was buried on Saturday.
“I want to address the issue of unity in this country because Hilja was herself a unifier. There are incidences of tribalism rearing its ugly head in the country. There are some people claiming that they are Ndongas, Kwanyamas, Kwambis. No let us dismiss tribalism with the contempt it deserves and remain Namibians. Namibians let us remain united. When I read the newspapers you hear people preaching tribalism,” he said.
“We cannot afford to lose more lives because of tribalism.”
Pohamba urged Namibians to accommodate each other irrespective of tribe. “If a Namibian needs a place to stay coming from Herero area or Nama area, we must be pleased to accommodate them. We should accommodate each other irrespective of tribe.
“We have experienced how tribalism has caused civil war and destroyed countries in Africa. Let us not kill each other because of tribalism.”
He said the nation’s heroes of (Tobias) Hainyeko and Hilja who fought for Namibia would want the citizens to remain united. “Let us build our country. Let us take each other as brothers.”
Pohamba hailed Hilja as a freedom fighter who was amongst the Namibians who fed Plan fighters and provided information to trace the apartheid South African army soldiers during the liberation struggle.
He said Hilja and her husband George Nelulu were among the Namibians inside the country who fought alongside Swapo inside the country while others were in exile.
He remarked that there is a general wrong perception that the country was only liberated by Namibians who were in exile. “It needs to be pointed out those people who faced and fought the enemy from within the country are the true liberation fighters. The notion that those who were in exile are the only people that fought for the liberation of the country is not true,” he said.
“Most Namibians inside the country even fought harder than those that were in exile. Some of those in exile were even very useless. Namibians who waged the liberation war inside the country did more than those that were in exile. They did more than you can imagine.
“That’s why it is important for us to look after our liberation figures who fought the apartheid regime from inside the country.
Pohamba said he was proud of the late Meme Hilja for her contribution to the uplifting of education standards in the country. Most of her protégés are professionals currently making a positive impact on the local economy.
She is survived by seven children, including Nangula Uaandja the country senior partner of PwC
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