Monday, December 30, 2013

KK's sacrifices for Namibia immeasurable - Kawana
By Kabanda Chulu in Windhoek, Namibia
Thu 07 Nov. 2013, 14:01 CAT
By Kabanda Chulu in Windhoek, Namibia

NO MONETARY value can compensate for what the people of Zambia did for southern Africa and Namibia in particular, says Namibian presidential affairs minister Albert Kawana.

Reacting to some Namibians who have criticised their government for giving a N$13 million (K7 million) luxury house to former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and renaming a street after him, Kawana, who is also Attorney General, said drawing comparisons between the donation and what the retired statesman did for Namibia during the liberation struggle would be a shame.

"The sacrifices that Zambians under Kaunda made during Namibia's liberation struggle are immeasurable. Zambia opened the door to us under the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN). Many Zambians were killed, properties were destroyed," said Kawana in a statement to the Namibian Press Agency.

"Zambia had helped many liberation movements, including us, with bases to operate from. Zambian people that now live in the areas we were operating from are exposed to landmines. This house, no matter the value, cannot be compared to the many Zambian lives lost as a result of helping Namibians during the exile years."

He said the donation of the house was a token of appreciation to the people of Zambia.

"This is to say thank you, thank you a million. No monetary value can compensate for what the people of Zambia did for southern Africa and especially Namibia. Some of us are very emotional about these things," said Kawana.

"It is shameful for Namibians to criticise the decision to donate the house to Kaunda and the people of Zambia."

Following the handover of the house on Sunday, there have been heated debates across Namibia with some people criticising the decision, saying a cheaper house could have been found.

Others are saying Dr Kaunda was not the only Zambian who suffered for supporting Namibia's independence struggle and therefore the government should have donated money to the government of Zambia to build clinics, bridges, roads and so on, and not reward a "dictator who has more money than any of the Namibian ministers and can afford to buy his own property."

And according to the Namibian Sun newspaper, opposition Congress of Democrats president Ben Ulenga, who was one of the recipients of Zambia's hospitality during the struggle, said the development was a state-to-state gesture.

"This is not from a private person to a private person but state to state. N$13 million is nothing between states," said Ulenga.

"The house is not going anywhere. It will never be carried away from the country. It will remain Namibian property. When I was in Zambia, I heard that a certain house belonged to (former Namibian president) Sam Nujoma. Maybe the Zambian state or Kaunda gave it to him."

He said the house was not given to Kaunda as a person, but as a symbol of an era.

"During that time (exile), Kaunda was not acting in his personal capacity but was acting as statesman at a certain time in history. This is why the donation should not be measured out of personal relationship but of a state relationship," said Ulenga.

"It is a very appropriate gesture and it should not become a private residence, but rather a symbol of the history the two countries share. Let Kaunda's house be a place where Namibians and Zambians meet."

Dr Kaunda's new Windhoek residence was previously used to accommodate judges and expatriate senior public prosecutors.

It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large lounge and a dining room on the upper level, with a self-contained lower level that also has a lounge, bedroom and a bathroom. There is also a swimming pool.

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