Petrus Iilonga, Deputy Minister: Ministry of Defence

May 29, 2013, 8:34 am

Petrus Iilonga (born 8 January 1947) is a Namibian politician, as well as a former trade union leader and former political prisoner. A member of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), Iilonga has served as Deputy Minister in various Ministries. He currently is Deputy Minister of Defence.
Iilonga was born in Etilyasa-Ongandjera, Omusati Region. He received military training in Tanzania and the Soviet Union from 1974 to 1976, after which he returned home to Namibia to fight in the Namibian War of Independence. He was imprisoned on Robben Island from 1978 and only released in 1985.
After his release, Iilonga began mobilizing workers under the National Union of Namibian Workers. He served as Secretary General of the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) from 1988-2000. He has been a member of the National Assembly since 1995. He left Napwu when he was appointed Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism by Sam Nujoma. Despite holding his position as Deputy Minister, he is a vocal critic of government labor policy, including the perceived favouring of landowners over farm labourers.
In 1996, Iilonga received Namibia's Ongulumbashe Medal for bravery and long service. In a 2008 belated Heroes Day speech, Iilonga criticized the newly-formed opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress for alleged tribalism. In the same speech in Keetmanshoop, the Deputy Minister said that SWAPO did not support opposition parties.
After his term as Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism from 2000-2005 he served as Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare (2005-2010) and as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry (2010-2012). Since 4 December 2012 he is Deputy Minister of Defence.