12 February 2013

Namibia: Tribute to Dr Abraham Iyambo


THE name of Dr Abraham Iyambo will forever remain inscribed in the annals of the pre- and post-independence history of Namibia. SWAPO realized long ago that Namibians themselves will bring about the independence of Namibia.

It thus developed a multi-faceted strategy for pre- and post-independent Namibia.

The pre-independence strategy entailed the prosecution of the war of national liberation by the People's Liberation Army of Namibia and the diplomatic isolation of the Apartheid South African regime. The post-independence strategy entailed the training of young Namibians to take over the administration of independent Namibia.

The contribution of Dr Abraham Iyambo should be seen in the context of the SWAPO post-independence strategy.

Dr Abraham Iyambo joined the ranks of SWAPO in exile at the tender age of 16 years.

He became exposed to the revolutionary ideas of SWAPO. He benefitted from the systematic programmes of SWAPO that were tailored to the adequate preparation of young Namibians to the tasks they are expected to carry out in the future.

He had reasonable access to the political and military leadership of SWAPO that further served to inspire him. Already at that tender age he exhibited leadership qualities and academic acumen. Though humble by nature and never ambitious, he found himself time and again being propelled in positions of leadership either by his peers or by his leaders.

In Chibia, Angola, he was a leader of the pioneers. In Cuba, he was a student leader in charge of academic affairs. As a teacher in Kwanza Sul, he was made Deputy Head of the Department of Mathematics and one of the leaders in SWAPO Youth League.

At the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom, he was a leader of Namibian students in the United Kingdom. His leadership qualities were recognized beyond Namibian circles.

In the United Kingdom, he was made a leader of the Afro-Carribean Students Association.

In an independent Namibia, his leadership qualities were recognized such that he was one of the young Members of Parliament, a Deputy Minister and eventually a Senior Cabinet Minister.

At the SWAPO Party level, he was elected as Member of the Central Committee and also a Member of the Politburo until the 5th SWAPO Party Congress. He served as Deputy Secretary of Economic Affairs of the Secretariat, amongst others.

In 2007, the 4th SWAPO Party Congress took a resolution directing the Central Committee to explore the possibility of making use of SWAPO Party cadres to assist the Party in its work on a voluntary basis. In October 2008, the SWAPO Party Think Tank was established in order to conduct research and engage in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military and technology issues.

The SWAPO Party Politburo appointed Dr Abraham Iyambo as its Chairman. In this capacity, he guided the preparation of key documents for the first ever SWAPO Party National Policy Conference, which helped the party to hold a successful 5th SWAPO Party Congress late last year.

On the 25th January 2013, Dr Abraham Iyambo wrote a letter to me as Secretary General of SWAPO Party, which I now consider as a farewell note.

I shall share with you some excerpts from it. He wrote:

"I am profoundly humbled and singularly honoured to have been entrusted by the SWAPO Party Leadership, a rare historic opportunity to be the Founding Chairperson of the SWAPO Party Think Tank.

"The Party came up with the idea for the establishment of the SWAPO Party Think Tank in order to engage and make use of the wealth of diverse expertise of young Party cadres. Dedicated Party Cadres have shown great interest and a flair of enthusiasm to voluntarily contribute to the vitality of the Party and respond as a weapon to the new world of knowledge and research."

He concluded as follows:

"I register my unlimited gratitude to the Party Senior Leadership and its entire ranks and file for the honour and trust bestowed on me to act as the Founding Chairperson of the SWAPO Party Think Tank. I have enjoyed the challenges and have been greatly enriched in the process. My Colleagues of the Think Tank made valuable contributions, sacrificed selflessly their precious time, energy and invested their talents and experience with dignity in the work of the Party. I am eternally indebted to them."

On behalf of the SWAPO Party and on my own behalf, I pay tribute to this great son of Namibia.

May his Soul rest in Eternal Peace

Nangolo Mbumba

SWAPO Party Secretary General

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