Govt delays ya Toivo honour

27 April 2018 Author  

Bureaucratic bungling has led to the delay in renaming the Ondangwa Airport in honour of the late liberation struggle icon, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, close to a year after the proposition was given the nod by President Hage Geingob. Bureaucratic bungling has led to the delay in renaming the Ondangwa Airport in honour of the late liberation struggle icon, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, close to a year after the proposition was given the nod by President Hage Geingob.

The Windhoek Observer understands that Cabinet is yet to receive a submission proposing renaming the Ondangwa Airport even though Geingob, the Namibia Airports company (NAC) and the Ondangwa Municipality have all agreed to the proposition to rename the northern airport. 
The idea of renaming the airport was first suggested by land activist, Job Amupanda, in July 2014 when he wrote letters to the NAC, SWAPO and government suggesting that the airport be named after Ya Toivo, but the idea was shot down at the time, and only became a point of discussion after the liberation icon’s death in June 2017
NAC board Chairperson, Rodgers Kauta, said they had agreed last year already to rename the airport in Ya Toivo’s honour. 
“The board wrote a letter to Permanent Secretary, Willem Goeimann last year. We have approved that already. So the execution depends on Cabinet approval,” Kauta said.
Ministry of Works and Transport Public Relations Officer, Julius Ngweda said the submission to Cabinet will be made soon.
“The Namibian Airports Company has responded positively, the Ondangwa Town Council has also responded positively. It is now just up to us as the ministry to draft a submission to Cabinet for approval and then we will wait for them to give us the go ahead. The submission has not been done, it has not yet reached Cabinet,” Ngweda said, without giving reasons why the submission has been delayed. 
It is not yet clear how much it will cost government to rename the airport.
Works and Transport Permanent Secretary, Willem Goeieman, told the Windhoek Observer that the ministry only started discussing the matter on Wednesday.
 “We are busy drafting the Cabinet submission and it should be sent out before May 15th,” Goeieman said on Thursday afternoon.
 Ondangwa Mayor, Paavo Amwele, told the Windhoek Observer that his office was also waiting for the process to begin after council gave the go ahead for the airport to be renamed.
“Our side of consent was given last year; we are just waiting for feedback from the top structures. This man was a politician and not just any politician, we are talking about Andimba,” Amwele said. 
Among many other historic achievements, Ya Toivo was a founder member of the South West African People’s Organization (SWAPO) and its predecessor, the Ovamboland People’s Organization (OPO).
Following his release from Robben Island in 1984, Ya Toivo committed himself to building a democratic Namibia, serving as secretary general of SWAPO and in various ministerial portfolios in government.
Ya Toivo’s widow, Vicki Erenstein ya Toivo, said only representatives from NAC had visited her seeking the family’s blessing in renaming the Ondangwa Airport.
“Sometime after my husband died, representatives of the NAC visited and asked me if we as the family would like the Ondangwa Airport renamed after my husband, and I said yes,” Vicki told the Windhoek Observer.

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