‘We must move on from Lubango’: Geingob

15 May 2019 18:00pm
WINDHOEK, 15 MAY (NAMPA) – The survivors of the fatal Lubango dungeons where thousands of Namibians, alleged by Swapo to be spies, were tortured and killed at the hands of their comrades, must come to terms with that past and move on.
Clinging on to it will hurt them more, President Hage Geingob told a group of survivors of the dungeons he met at State House on Wednesday.
The survivors, who along with others went into exile during the height of apartheid, to this day seek justice and closure for the atrocities.
The president also said in the meeting that Namibians who died at the hands of apartheid South Africa were more than those who suffered under Swapo.
“We all lost in the war. If we are going to count, how about the parents of those who were lost in Casssinga [and] many others who were just disappearing without trace? They are also angry. They are also looking for solutions,” he said.
He went on: “We are saying as a government, let’s now try to bury that because if we are going to allow everybody to cry, we will have problems.”
He also said some Namibians are using this issue to collect political points, hence its resurrection now that Namibia is in an election year.
“Why is it always coming up in a campaign? It’s painful. If you don’t let go, it’s going to hurt us more and more,” Geingob said before emphasising on the blanket amnesty which Swapo negotiated with the United Nations.
This, according to Geingob meant that “whatever Swapo has done in exile, forget it. Whatever South Africa has done here, torturing people and killing people, forget it”.
Geingob reiterated that war is an ugly thing where innocent people die and there were no due processes in place to deal with certain things in exile.
“Are we denying that there were spies? You are not spies [but] are you denying that in war, there are spies?” he asked.
During the 80s, Swapo established a secret intelligence service to spy on other Swapo members which led to the arrest of perceived spies within Swapo at the time.
Reports suggest that about 4 000 Namibians were incarcerated in the dungeons of Lubango and many remain unaccounted for as at the time of their return to Namibia in 1989, only 200 came back home.
Responding to Geingob, Pauline Dempers, the group’s spokesperson said the impact of the dungeons to the survivors as well as perpetrators must be looked at.
“It’s only when we come together that we’ll comprehend what really took place in exile, because that is core. We are bearing this brand of being labelled as spies and that remains with us,” she said.
Dempers continued: “So as Namibians, who were hurt in this process, we don’t think that Swapo is not hurting because it hurt its own people and should be hurting if it is a conscious movement.”