EVERY now and then, wounds inflicted on Namibians during the bitter struggle for independence get opened up. Perhaps this is testimony that we haven’t really done much to address some injustices of the liberation struggle.
While the SWAPO government can be commended for adopting the National Reconciliation Policy soon after independence, to preserve peace and stability in the country, policy without tangible actions on the ground remains void.
During a bitter liberation war for independence, such as the one waged by this country’s liberators and those of some of our neighbouring countries, atrocities do happen. Or, as they say, it’s either you kill or you get killed.
In our case, it’s a known fact that the colonial regime used our own people against our own people. The liberation movement was infiltrated by apartheid spies. At the same time there were several suspected spies who were innocent but were persecuted for crimes they did not commit.
In the same vein, there are several “comrades” who have been wrongly accused of having orchestrated atrocities against their own brothers and sisters. As a result, nearly 30 years after independence, some people are still yearning for closure.
Recently, veteran journalist Oiva Angula authoured a heart-wrenching book entitled “Swapo captive: A comrade’s experience of betrayal and torture”, in which he shares his harrowing experiences in the dungeons of Lubango, in Angola. Although to some, the experiences shared by Angula are not new, they bear testimony to the fact that his wounds are still fresh four decades later.
We should be bold enough to emulate our neighbours South Africa and establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which would give substance to the Reconciliation Policy adopted at independence. We should engage the drivers of the TRC, such as Archbishob Desmond Tutu, to guide our own healing process. Atrocities of the liberation struggle do not only affect the victims but certainly the perpetrators too, many of whom still spend sleepless nights today. A platform for the both the victims and the perpetrators to share their experiences would certainly go a long way towards bringinging the much-needed closure.
While it is true that some political parties often capitalise on the issue to gain political milages towards elections, this is a matter that cannot be swept under the carpet as it will continue to rear it’s ugly head. We must avoid a scenario of prolonging the healing of the wounds as this could potentially destroy future generations.
Just like the protracted land question, the ugly past of our liberation struggle should be addressed now rather than later to avoid dire consequences. We must thrive to involve all major liberation struggle stakeholders and more importantly the church, former security agents, etcetera to find a lasting solution to our haunting past.
The Swapo government is best placed to lead the process of healing through a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which would address the injustices of our liberation struggle and put the matter to rest once and for all.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015