Namibia: Nambundunga Hailed a Hero

TRIBUTES are pouring in for former army commander and one-time acting chief of the Namibian Defence Force Peter Nambundunga, who died in a northern hospital on Monday evening. He was 71.

Nambundunga was a retired major general and Namibian military commander. He was appointed the commander of the army in 2005, replacing lieutenant general Martin Shalli when Nambundunga was promoted to chief of the NDF.

He rose through the ranks of the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (Plan) during the Namibian war of independence, occupying various posts until independence. Upon independence, Plan and the South West African Territorial Force (SWATF) merged to form the Namibian Defence Force (NDF), and Nambundunga was given the rank of colonel in 1990.

Nambundunga, affectionately known as 'Cosmos', was a former chief of logistics of Plan.

In 2000, he was promoted to the rank of major general, and appointed as NDF chief of staff.

Former Plan commander and friend Niilo Taapopi yesterday told The Namibian that he had known Nambundunga since 1970 before he went abroad.

"He became my good friend. He left the country in 1974/75. His combat name was 'Never Lose'. He went to Zambia to get training, and then found me in Angola. In 1979, at the north-western front, I was his commander as a political commissar," Taapopi said.

Taapopi described Nambundunga as a disciplined officer, and a man of integrity.

"He was a good man. We worked together and served on Swapo companies as directors. We lost a father and a friend as many honour him," he added.

Ohangwena regional governor Usko Nghaamwa also worked with Nambundunga, who was until recently his special adviser.

Nghaamwa said Nambundunga, who served in his office for close to five years, worked hard to liberate Namibia, and made sure to serve his people once the country attained independence.

"He was a good adviser; a very friendly person who associated with everyone, regardless of their age group. I personally lost someone who had so much good history to tell about how difficult it was to get independence," he noted.

Shalli had this to say: "Namibia has lost one of its best warriors for freedom and independence; a dedicated cadre of Swapo. Together with others, Nambun-dunga extended his energy and efforts to bring independence for this country. He has immensely contributed to nation-building, and to the entire army. He has dedicated his entire life to the Namibian people. We are still coming to terms with his death".

Commissioner Elisa Haulyondjaba said he learned with sadness of Nambundunga's death.

"I have known Nambundunga since 1975. His work as a member of Plan is widely appreciated. Sympathies to his family, comrades and friends. May his soul rest in peace," Haulyondjaba said.

Nambundunga is survived by his wife and children.


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