Thursday 15 April 2021
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Clarifying “Founding Father” Title

In April 2005, the Parliament of the Republic of Namibia enacted legislation declaring Dr. Sam Nujoma the “Founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation”. This was done in recognition of his dedication and selfless sacrifice to the national liberation struggle and nation building. This does not mean that no other Namibian dedicated their selfless sacrifice to the national liberation struggle and nation building (should be honoured).
It should be noted that nevertheless, there is a special crop of several distinguished Namibian freedom fighters who behove to be called “Founding Fathers”. Hence, such references are attributed to; inter alia, Chief Hosea Katjikururume Kutako (Father of Nationalism) and Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo.  Regrettably, there are those who deemed it fit to use the recent death of internationally acclaimed struggle icon Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo as a platform to mount unwarranted scathing attacks against the person of Founding Father Dr. Sam Nujoma. Dr. Nujoma is the Founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation by virtue of being the first president of the (independent) Republic of Namibia. Neither does the title imply that Dr. Nujoma was the first to found nor discover the country Namibia; it (SWA by then) existed since time immemorial before Dr. Nujoma.
Therefore, anyone who wishes to dispute his title should prove that Dr. Nujoma never served as 1st President of the Republic of Namibia. They should not do it by claims such as that he is not the owner of Namibia and other wild arguments because his title does not imply such in the first place.  He was unanimously elected as President of Namibia on 16 February 1990 by the Constituent Assembly, being the sole candidate, which comprised six political parties in addition to SWAPO. Late Ya Toivo was part of this Assembly.
On 21 March 1990, a new Namibian Nation was born. Anyone who became its first president automatically becomes its Founding President. It is therefore simply unfathomable to have people bickering with lame questions such as “who is the real Founding Father, Dr. Nujoma or Ya Toivo”? Any person asking such a laughable question needs to understand the meaning “Founding Father” first.  It can be compared to asking; “who is the real Founding Father of South Africa, Mandela or Tambo”? The answer is: Namibia and South Africa did not have democratically elected presidents before Dr. Nujoma and Mandela respectively.
The Father of Nationalism Hosea Kutako is titled as such because he mobilised other tribes to form a Nationalism movement. People seem to be insinuating that Namibia had a Founding President before Dr. Nujoma-an outrageous insinuation in all degrees-and in their view, he does not deserve that title. They should then tell us who was elected as Namibia’s President before Dr. Nujoma. Simply put, if someone else became the first president of Namibia and Dr. Nujoma was to be accorded “Founding President and Father of the Namibian Nation” title (albeit not being the 1st President), then we can raise the issue about the “real” founding father.  The term “founding” simply means “the establishment of something”. The first democratic president, by virtue of his office of occupancy, establishes the Republic of Namibia and a united and free Namibian Nation. Dr. Nujoma achieved that by successfully uniting all Namibians into a peaceful, tolerant and democratic society governed by the rule of law (remember the motto: ONE NAMIBIA, ONE NATION). None of the above existed before 1990.
Dr. Nujoma’s tittle does not steal or threaten the recognition or legacy of any other Namibian freedom fighter. It does not preclude the honouring of all unsung heroes and heroines of our liberation. It does not purport that he was the only freedom fighter, not at all. But it says that he was the first president and that is a fact. If you hear people asking: “who is the real Founding Father,” simply revert to demonstrate the bankruptcy of their question by asking them: “who is the real first president of Namibia (before Dr. Nujoma)”? If they can’t answer, then their initial question is non-existent.
Maybe if Ya Toivo was elected as Founding President of SWAPO and Namibia and all of a sudden Dr. Nujoma (out of the blue as they say) overthrew him and became President of Namibia and snatched that title, then again we can interrogate as to who the “real” Founding Father is. But that did not happen at all. If Dr. Nujoma has been at the helm of SWAPO for 47 solid years-difficult years I must say-proffer us with just one reason as to why he was not supposed to be elected as the Founding President of Namibia. Was Dr. Nujoma a Johnny-come-lately in Namibian politics when he was elected as first president? We didn’t hear of a power struggle between Dr. Nujoma and Ya Toivo to lead SWAPO or Namibia. South Africa calculated this to materialise when they released Ya Toivo in 1984, but it never transpired. The same goes for those trying to bring animosity between the legacies of Dr. Nujoma and Ya Toivo; they should be told that they will fail, for others tried but failed even more dismally.
Then there are those who ask: “what battle did Nujoma fight”? The answer is: Dr. Nujoma fought and won every battle fought and won by PLAN! To understand this, we need to decipher the terms “battle” and “army”. A battle is a military engagement of armies, whereas an army is a highly organized military force. Again to demonstrate the intellectually bankruptcy of this puerile question, here is how to deal with such a question, ask them: “did those who left Namibia to participate in struggle for liberation go as an equipped and highly organised military force? Did they go with guns, ammunition, uniforms and food? Where did all this come from to enable them to engage in military battles”?
Ask them if they ever heard that SWAPO devised a three-pronged strategy: the political front, the diplomatic front and the armed liberation struggle. The diplomatic front meant mobilising support from around the world. Hence Dr. Nujoma (as president) and dispatched SWAPO representatives had to travel a lot around world attending conferences to raise global awareness about the cause of the Namibian people and mobilizing support in terms weapons, clothing, medical assistance from countries such as Cuba, Soviet Union, China, Norway, Sweden, Finland, etc. This assistance was meant for PLAN soldiers at front and thousands or refugee children in SWAPO camps.
SWAPO and Namibia had no other president apart from Dr. Nujoma. If they ever had, please inform us. Therefore, while it remains natural and human to wield hatred toward others; kindly be informed that Dr. Sam Nujoma is the Founding (1st) President of SWAPO. He is the Founding (1st) Commander-in-Chief of PLAN. He is the Founding (1st) President and Father of the Namibian Nation. He is the Founding (1st) Commander of the Namibian Defence Force. He is the Founding (1st) Chancellor of UNAM. Why? Because no one served in those capacities before him.
Daniel Likius

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