Venaani bids farewell to Iilonga, whose Swapo did no wrong

22 Dec 2018 12:00pm
WINDHOEK, 22 DEC (NAMPA) – Leader of the official opposition – McHenry Venaani described the later Petrus ‘Ekanda’ Iilonga as the greatest nightmare he faced as a parliamentarian – as in his eyes, Swapo was immune to wrongdoing and the opposition parties had nothing good to offer.
This approach by Iilonga, made it difficult for opposition politicians, particularly a youthful Venaani at the time, to handle the man affectionately known as ‘Broken Head’ in his political circle.
Iilonga, Venaani said, as a political adversary made work of the opposition 100 times more difficult.
He made these remarks, in a light tone when he bade farewell to Illonga at the Parliament Gardens in the capital on Friday.
“This man did not listen to what the opposition had to say. With Dr [Hage] Geingob, you could always tease and make a compromise. Even with President Pohamba when he was a minister…these were good politicians. But with Ekanda, (the) opposition was always wrong and Swapo was always right,” Venaani fondly remembered, as the audience burst into laughter.
So firm was Illonga, that as opposition parties, they had to rely on his stance on policy matters in the National Assembly, as this would in most cases also be Swapo’s stance, he added.
The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president further added that Iilonga was the last communist that the party had.
“He was the last Swapo communist that I know. A man who espoused the ethos of communism, especially the teaching of the dialectics of materialism,” he said.
He added: “He chose to live in Katutura up to this day. He wanted to be ideologically sound and I bear witness to the fact that whatever he believed in, he did so until the end of time.”
Venaai also took time to respond to proponents of the colonial apartheid regime, who argue that Namibia was better administered during that period, in juxtaposition to the current government, spearheaded by the Swapo.
Venaani quashed those who harbour such sentiments, saying only someone who benefited from such a system could compare the two.
Iilonga died in the Roman Catholic Hospital in Windhoek on 11 December after a long illness. He was 71.
Iilonga served as a parliamentarian and deputy minister of Environment and Tourism; Labour and Social Services; Agriculture, Water and Forestry and Defence between 2000 and 2015.
He will be buried at Heroes’ Acre on Saturday.