Speaking shortly after Geingob delivered his speech in Rundu on Tuesday, Venaani said that Independence Day should be used to promote patriotism and national unity, and not to settle political scores.
“Our nation’s president, Dr Hage Geingob, chose a very wrong platform to attack his critics, and again spoiled a would-be good speech, had it not focused on settling scores. You have to wait for political rallies to do that, and rather rise above pettiness on an occasion such as this one,” Venaani said, as he chided Geingob.
During his hard-hitting speech, a livid Geingob battered his political enemies, including those who had called for a boycott of the Rundu festivities.
The Head of State also said that there are some Namibians “who are intent to see the Government of the day fail, even to the point of wishing for some kind of calamity to take place, and jeopardise our plans to take Namibia forward”.
But Venaani said that Independence Day should not be a day for “political quarrels”.
“This is a very important day in the history of our nation’s body politic, and is not a day for political quarrels. Let us work towards managing our differences in a manner that doesn’t take away our patriotism from each other, to our dear motherland,” he said.
During his speech, Geingob turned his attention to those who had called for a boycott of the well-attended festivities, including Professor Joseph Diescho and other prominent Kavangos. “How can you boycott your own achievement? How can you boycott national reconciliation? How can you boycott the freedom of movement and the freedom of speech? How can you boycott the desire to maintain unity, national sovereignty and human dignity? Let the free people of Namibia celebrate their existence.
“After 27 years, it would be absurd for us to deny that we have so much to be grateful for. First and foremost, we are grateful, and celebrate the fact that, despite many challenges, we have managed to maintain peace and unity in Namibia,” an angry Geingob scolded.
The Head of State also gave a historical background on the “emotive issue” of land.
“When the Germans colonised Namibia in 1884, they grabbed the land and kept it until 1915, following World War One, when South Africa took over most of the land.
“From 1915 to 1966, there was no armed struggle waged by Namibians to reclaim their stolen land, until the International Court of Justice threw out Namibia’s justifiable case, based on technicalities. It was at this time when one of our gallant sons proclaimed that, ‘we are our own liberators, and we shall cross many rivers of blood before we achieve our freedom’,” Geingob said.
He said it was SWAPO that had united Namibians to fight for independence, and to fight for land, and therefore the ruling party cannot be against Namibians owning land.
However, Venaani accused Geingob of telling historical half-truths.
“When we tell history we are claiming truthfulness, yet we tell half-truths. How can a leader claim that between 1915 up to 1966 nothing happened, until the SWAPO liberation struggle started?
“No Mr President, those are alternative facts, and nothing can be further from the truth than such a reckless raping of (other) people’s contributions to our struggle.
“More petitions to the United Nations were crafted in this period of objection to the annexation of the then South-West Africa, as a fifth province of the Union of South Africa. The crafting of our quest for freedom started during that period; the list is endless. Stop the history of the victor! Many played a part, don’t blow your own trumpet too loudly.
“It is our nation’s day, let us celebrate and rejoice in it, because it is the day that the Lord has made,” Venaani said.
During his speech, Geingob also lashed out at those whom he described as being “tired of peace”.
“I am aware that there are some people in this country who are tired of peace and have made it no secret by questioning why we keep repeating to talk about peace. We are repeating ourselves because the truth cannot change.
“Only lies can change. Therefore we will continue reaffirming our identity by repeating the truth. We cannot also stop thanking those that supported us through difficult times. We cannot cease telling the story of our glorious history.
“If you have an inglorious history, in which you brought fear, death and pain to your fellow Namibians, then you will not like to talk about your sordid history. However, if you have a glorious history, in which you brought freedom, peace and hope to your fellow Namibians: you will always proclaim your history loud and clear,” Geingob said.