New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Raimo Kankondi: The Exemplary Public Servant and Advocate for Social Equality and Justice (1957? 1993)

editorial

Windhoek — Namibia may have many sons and daughters out there who wish to see or are working hard to ensure that the wealth of the country is equally distributed to its entire citizenry.

However, such cannot be mentioned without the name of Raimo Kankondi.

He is posthumously remembered as a man who opposed the unequal distribution of wealth in the country and was desirous to undo the social injustices then existing in the Namibian society. His goal was to redistribute the wealth of the country to citizens on the periphery of the country's socio-economic ladder.

He "wanted Namibia to be more equitable with the land owned by more people, less unemployment and less illiteracy" cites his biographical file.

Kankondi is noted to have been born in November 1957 at Onakayale village in northern Namibia. He attended primary education at Okahao and went on to continue his secondary education at Ongwediva in 1971.

However, he could not complete his secondary education due to colonial oppression. He saw the suffering the Namibian people were subjected to by the apartheid administration and even worse when his friend was shot by the South African security forces, an event that is noted to have triggered him to go into exile. In 1974, he undertook the journey into exile, crossing the Angolan border until he reached the Swapo settlement in Zambia.

Whilst in exile, he attended a nine-months training course in basic military skill - however, due to health reasons he was not sent to the frontline to fight the South African forces after he completed his military training.

He continued to attend school on the outskirts of Lusaka in Zambia until he received a scholarship to go and study in Finland.

Since he did not complete matric before he left for exile he first had to complete matric in Finland before he enrolled for tertiary education. He completed his matric and went on to study for a bachelor degree in science that he completed in 1982.

He also attained a Master of Science (MSc) in 1984 and another MSc in Veterinary Medicine, which he completed in 1986. He is noted to have been a man of great intellect and this perhaps explains his illustrious academic achievements.

Immediately after independence, Kankondi worked for the Directorate of Veterinary Services - however this was only for a short time before he moved to the newly established Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources first as Deputy Permanent Secretary in 1991 and as Permanent Secretary from October 1992. Whilst at the fisheries ministry, he is noted to have "helped set up Namibia's important co-ordination of see fisheries for the Southern African Development Community (SADC)" and thereby improving the region's research and protection capability, reads one of Kankondi's biographical files.

It was mostly during his tenure in those positions as a senior public servant that Kankondi came to display the quality of his leadership, determination and the vision he had for Namibia.

He is also noted to have abhorred alcohol abuse and wished that "prices and levies on alcohol be increased so that the money generated can be used to alleviate social conditions caused by alcohol abuse." Kankondi died as a result of illness in 1993.

Nonetheless, he earned his legacy as a dedicated, committed and competent public servant. Speeches delivered by senior government officials at his memorial address note that Kankondi's death was a hard blow for the Namibian nation as the nation had lost a man with exceptional vision, self-sacrifice and commitment to improve the socio-economic condition of the Namibian people.

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