Venaani praises late Ilonga for his loyalty

12 Dec 2018 19:40pm
WINDHOEK, 12 DEC (NAMPA) – Leader of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), McHenry Venaani described the late Petrus Ilonga as a one of Namibia’s outstanding and fearless freedom fighters.
Family spokesperson, Dr Kalumbi Shangula confirmed that Ilonga died on Tuesday evening, aged 71, after a long illness.
Joining mourners at Ilonga’s residence in Windhoek on Wednesday afternoon, Venaani praised the late politician for his loyalty to Swapo and called him a worthy opponent with the aim of making Namibia a better place.
“He was not a great political debater but he was a steadfast Swapo Party member. He was a Swapo leader, Swapo right or Swapo wrong, he’ll always defend Swapo’s position,” Venani highlighted.
The opposition leader noted that regardless of political differences, humanity comes first.
“In Parliament we taught each other that we will all look after each other as leaders of this country, therefore, political barriers will not stop me or any other leader from sharing the grief,” he emphasised.
Venaani further eulogised the late former political prisoner, reminiscing on how he was an ardent speaker in Parliament, especially when it concerned Swapo issues.
“He was never prepared with a speech and would speak off the cuff,” he said, praising Ilonga’s strong character.
Born on 08 January 1948 in Etilyasa-Ongandjera in the Omusati Region, Ilonga received military training in Tanzania and the Soviet Union in his early years before returning to Namibia to fight in the liberation struggle against the apartheid regime for Namibia’s independence.
The former combat fighter filled the position of secretary general of the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) from 1988-2000.
After he left Napwu, then President Sam Nujoma appointed him Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism.
Ilonga further served the country as Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare; Agriculture, Water and Forestry as well as at the Ministry of Defence between 2000 and 2015.
He is survived by his wife, nine children and two siblings.