Sunday 11 April 2021
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State funerals: some people are more equal

Political analyst Henning Melber says bestowing veteran status to traditional leaders and others who featured in higher-ranking positions in the past border-war is an insult to those who deserve the recognition as veterans.
Recently government accorded prominent apartheid officials war-veteran status while at the same time bestowing departed officials with state funerals.
Among those who benefitted are late Ondonga Traditional authority King Immanuel Kauluma Elifas who has been accorded a state funeral by President Hage Geingob last week despite overwhelming evidence that Kauluma served in Owambo Legislative council.
In 2014 former president Hifikepunye Pohamba also accorded late Ovaherero paramount chief a state funeral. Riruako was allegedly one of the traditional leaders who persuaded able-bodied men to take up arms against Swapo.
Business mogul Frans Indongo, a minister of economic affairs in the infamous Owambo administration is one of the questionable people who qualified for veteran status at the expense of real freedom fighters who devoted their lives to the liberation struggle.
Traditional leaders such as Uukolonkadhi traditional authority Chief Daniel Shooya and Uukwaluudhi traditional authority king Josia Shikongo Taapopi were ministers of Interior and Agriculture and Forestry respectively.
The two are allocated government vehicles, although The Patriot could not verify whether or not they are registered as war veterans.
Some people believe that the decision to accord king Kauluma a state funeral is to appease Oshindonga speaking people to vote for the ailing Swapo party in the presidential and National Assembly elections this year. Government did not give late Ukwangali Hompa Sitentu Mpasi, Ongandjera King Japhet Mukundi, neither chief of the #Aonin (Topnaar) Seth Kooitjie state funerals.
According to the documents laid bare on social media this week, Kauluma represented Ondonga in the apartheid backed Owambo legislative council.
Melber stated that state funerals should be very exceptional recognitions taking place on a limited number of occasions.
Namibian war veterans Trust (Namvet) chairperson, Jabulani Ndeunyema condemned government’s decision to accord and recognise former apartheid collaborators state funerals as well as veteran status while it (government) refused to recognise ex-SWATF and Ko-evoet members as war veterans.
Ndeunyema said that Kauluma was not on Swapo’s side as it is being alleged by influential people within Swapo circles. “He had police officers at his house. He, Kalangula (Peter), Riruako and others were the ones who convinced a lot of people to join SWATF and Koevoet.”

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