Ilonga burnt by pot before

19 September 2014

THE DEPUTY Minister of Defence Petrus Ilonga has categorically denied having hurled insults at any of his party’s leaders when he delivered a speech at a Heroes’ Day commemoration ceremony three weeks ago.


In an interview on Monday, Ilonga stressed that he would never dream of, nor had he ever insulted anyone senior to him, in age or political rank.

“That is just not my character and I was not raised that way to insult my leaders, never!” he exclaimed.

The deputy minister further denied having said that Swapo had lost focus, as some newspapers had written the previous week. He said that he could never say something like that about a party to which he belonged.

He not only played the recording of his speech for the Windhoek Observer to listen to but also presented a copy of his statement delivered on that day as proof.

In his speech, he referred to the significance of celebrating Heroes’ Day and described it as a day of sober reflection about the paths Namibians crossed in order to achieve genuine freedom and national Independence.

He then continued to encourage the crowd gathered there to vote for Swapo in the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections.

He further urged Swapo members to mobilise support for the party and its candidate Hage Geingob in the region.

“I explained to the people that there will only be one party that emerges victorious and it should be Swapo.

“That is when I gave the example of congress, stating that Jerry Ekandjo, Pendukeni Iivula- Ithana and Hage Geingob had all contested the vice presidency, but only one of them emerged victorious.

“Now some have decided to take what I said and produce complete lies,” Ilonga said.

He further remarked that after a local daily initially reported what he had supposedly said at the gathering, he approached both the councillors of Ondobe and Etayi constituency.

The deputy minister said that both councillors who were present at the rally confirmed that none of the things the newspaper claimed had actually transpired on that day.

“I was encouraging people to vote for Swapo how could I then turn around and say Swapo had lost focus?

“I have even being hearing that I am apparently so power hungry that I will be the next leader of NEEF,” Ilonga said.

Ilonga said that he had no issues or hard feelings regarding the outcome of the vote at the electoral college, highlighting that it was not the first time he did not make the cut and that this is the nature of politics.

“It’s not the first time I’ve been burnt by the pot. There are times I made it and Ndaitwah did not. This time she made it and I did not, and there is nothing wrong with that.

“We are not surprised by these things, because in our training during the liberation struggle we were told that achieving independence was not the hard part, it was governing the country afterward that would bring the real challenge.

“We were told that the comrades you are with in the trenches fighting for the same cause will one day be your enemies and your current enemies will become your advisors, and we have seen it happen,” Ilonga said.

The deputy minister added that he was not dependent on a Government salary for a living and that when he was no longer a deputy minister and in parliament, he would continue with his private work and continue to serve his party.

Ilonga concluded by stating that ‘the pot’ was simple mathematics where there were only places for 96 people on the list, but over 200 delegates contested those places.

“It was a given that not everybody would make it. I even said to some of the comrades before the voting, that nature had already determined the outcome and we would just have to accept that,” he said.

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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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