09 Nov 2013 08:50am
WINDHOEK, 09 NOV (NAMPA) Hundreds of people flocked to Parliament Gardens in the capital on Friday to pay homage to the late Fredrick Mwala Matongo, who died last week.
Matongo, who was the Secretary of the Swapo-Party Elders' Council, passed away at the Rhino Park Private Hospital in Windhoek at around 10h00 on Friday after a long illness.
He was 67.
Matongo is being laid to rest at Heroes Acre on Saturday.
Speaker after speaker yesterday described Matongo as a tested freedom fighter who dedicated his life to the Namibian liberation struggle.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba was amongst the mourners who described him as a brave man, a man of integrity, and a man who was always ready to serve his country and its people.
He was always humble and smiling, he said, adding that Matongo was truly a down to earth comrade whose humbleness earned him respect amongst his comrades.
These are the attributes which led to the decision of Swapo of Namibia, under the leadership of founding President Sam Nujoma, to appoint him as Swapo Chief to India from 1981 to 1986. His appointment was beneficial to Swapo in many ways, Pohamba noted.
India became one of the first countries which accorded Swapo full diplomatic status.
His diplomatic acumen made him one of the most successful Swapo Chief representatives, the Head of State indicated. Matongo went on to represent Swapo in the Republic of Congo.
Again, Pohamba said, Swapo received consistent support and solidarity from this fellow African country which became one of the staunchest supporters of the struggle for freedom and independence.
Matongo was presented with a medal of honour by the founding president at Omugulugwombashe in recognition of his pioneering participants in the armed liberation struggle.
Matongos contribution to the liberation of our country was acknowledged by Government, when he was conferred the title of Colonel of the Namibia Defence Force at the commemoration of Heroes Day at Eenhana in 2007, he said.
The trust he earned amongst his comrades enabled him to be elected as Deputy Secretary for the Swapo-Party Elders Council.
He proved himself to be a dependable comrade, Pohamba said.
It is for this reason that he was eventually elected Secretary of the Swapo-Party Elders Council during the fifth Congress of the Elders Council at Ongwediva last year.
During his tenure as Secretary for the Elders Council, more emphasis was put on the socio-economic needs of his fellow citizens.
The focus of the Elders Council was the welfare of senior citizens, women, orphans and vulnerable children, fighting alcohol and drug abuse, violence against women and children, as well as equitable distribution of land amongst Namibians.
Matongo was also appointed as Special Advisor to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the position he held at the time of his death.
I regard his death as untimely because he was only elected Secretary of the Swapo-Party Elders Council last year. As president of the Swapo-Party, I was looking forward to working with him. However, that was not to be. Comrade Matongo is no more, Pohamba said.