… Highlights his immense contribution as Mines and Energy Minister
By Hilary Mare
THE Namibian business community has paid tribute to the late anti-apartheid struggle icon, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, who died in Windhoek last Friday at the age of 92.
Ya Toivo, who was a retired politician and former political prisoner, has been widely acknowledged for promoting a conducive business environment, particularly during his tenure in different ministerial portfolios between 1990 and 2006.
Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein led the tributes over the past weekend, by saying: “Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo reminded us what a good human being must stand and live for. A true hero!”
Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Officer, Tarah Shaanika, spoke at length to Confidente, said that Ya Toivo had made enormous contributions to the growth of the country’s economy.
“As a prominent and influential political leader, after we became independent, Tatekulu Ya Toivo made enormous contributions to the growth of our economy, especially through the ministerial responsibilities that were assigned to him by the then Head of State and the governing party. As Minister of Mines and Energy, during the first nine years of our independence, he steered a very sound investment-friendly policy environment, which attracted huge investments in the mining sector,” Shaanika said.
“Today, our economic growth and exports have been reliant on this sector, because of the visionary and effective leadership provided by the founding minister responsible for that sector.”
Shaanika further noted that Ya Toivo was a very independently-minded leader, whose views on inclusive economic policies are well-known.
He said Ya Toivo clearly had a positive influence on the policies pursued by Swapo and government, which call for inclusivity and equitable income distribution.
“As a Minister of Labour, another key economic portfolio, he championed true smart partnership among government, business and labour. He was amazingly objective in dealing with labour matters, and always looked at the bigger picture, and the benefits to the larger economy.
“Business Namibia will always cherish Tatekulu Ya Toivo’s immense contributions to our economy, and to the peace and political stability, which we continue to enjoy. We will forever celebrate his rich legacy,” Shaanika added.
NCCI Northern Branch Chairperson, Tomas Iindji, which is the part of the country that Ya Toivo hails from, credits the anti-apartheid icon with coming up with the Afrikaans name of the northern business association ‘Die Namibiese Kamer van Koophandel’, which was later transformed into the NCCI.
“It was a sad day for us, when we learned that this much-loved icon was no more,” Iindji said.
He went on to say that the rich contribution Ya Toivo made to Namibian society, before independence and after independence, when he was the country’s Minister of Mines and Energy, has left a mark, and goes far beyond what is known by everyone who had the privilege to work with him.
“It is only now, when we come together from the many walks of life that he has touched, that the sum of his gifts can be felt.
“As our country faces intense pressure, like other economies, due to the global economic meltdown, we take lessons from Tatekulu Ya Toivo that it is only through unity and working together, that we can achieve the prosperous society we seek.
“Ours is to draw positive lessons and inspiration from his life and to continue with the good fight he fought, until he took his last breath,” Iindji said.
“It is only through unity and placing Namibia first, that we can consolidate the freedom, d e m o c r a c y and economy that Tatekulu Ya Toivo worked tirelessly for. We have laid a good foundation in the past 27 years, but the struggle continues against poverty, inequality and unemployment.
“That struggle calls for the type of sacrifice, dedication and commitment that Tatekulu Ya Toivo displayed in business world and economy, in general.
“It calls for supreme loyalty to the movement and the country, which we can also learn from Tatekulu Ya Toivo’s legacy,” Iindji said.
T o i v o served 16 years in Robben Island prison, in the same section as Nelson Mandela. He was released from prison in 1984 and rejoined Swapo in exile in Lusaka, Zambia. He returned to Namibia in 1989 in the wake of the country’s independence and served as a member of parliament and as a Cabinet minister in Dr Sam Nujoma’s government. He retired from active politics in 2006.
During his farewell speech from government on 15 March 2005, delivered in the National Assembly, Ya Toivo urged his fellow MPs to act as “models of public and private conduct to your fellow citizens, particularly the youth”.
He added that there was no room in the public service for “people who use their positions to enrich themselves”.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015