Shixwameni deserves more flowers

THE death of arguably Namibia’s champion for youth democracy, Ignatius Nkotongo Shixwameni marked a dark day in the political history of the Land of the Brave signifying the loss of not just a patriot, but a man whose actions contributed immensely to the birth of this country.

Indeed, it remains commendable that the decision by President Hage Geingob to honour the late APP President with a state funeral is a rare and outstanding show of statesmanship which also shows political maturity and progressive politics of recognition.

Despite this being a noble cause which the late Shixwameni is deserving of, it is imperative to state that he most certainly deserves more flowers, more recognition and a place among those with the highest political accolades of the country.

This should be acknowledged in full view of his rise in student politics which catalysed the push for emancipation from apartheid rule. We are reminded of how Shixwameni and Paul Kalenga were instant household names in the student movement in the late 1980s and their role in the National Students Organisation (Nanso) at the dawn of independence.

As history has it and as his colleagues at the time would attest, Shixwameni and his key confidantes were the masterminds of the historic national student boycotts that started in today’s Ohangwena region at Ponhofi Secondary school in 1988.

These boycotts which later spread across the country at an unprecedented rate can be regarded as the turning point in student activism and participation in national liberation in various parts of Namibia. Having his quality, Shixwameni was the youngest in the team of internal leadership that went to Lusaka in 1988 to discuss the road to the 1989 UN-supervised election and reconstruction of Namibia after independence.

What followed this was further affirmation of Shixwameni’s political will and his drive towards a better Namibia for all. He served in different political leadership roles including as Swapo party member of parliament from 1995-1999, deputy minister of information and broadcasting between 1997 and 1999, and Swapo party youth league leader between 1987 and 1999.

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In addition, the late Shixwameni served as the first chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security.

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In 2000, he joined the Congress of Democrats (CoD) where he served as Member of Parliament and party chief whip in 2000. In 2010, under the APP, he was elected as a Member of Parliament, a role he performed until his time of passing at the age of 55.

At a time when principle and the fundamental ethos that shaped Namibia’s pursuit of self rule have become scarce in the political arena in both the ruling party and the opposition, Shixwameni who always stood firm where others wavered, is a huge loss not only to his family but the entire Namibian political family. His values which have guided many current political leaders who were mentored by him in youth politics should remain to serve as guiding principles for current and future generations.

May his soul rest in eternal peace