Cabinet has approved the proposal to rename the Ondangwa Airport in honour of the late liberation struggle icon, Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, a year after the proposition was given the nod by President Hage Geingob.
Ministry of Works and Transport Public Relations Officer, Julius Ngweda, told the Windhoek Observer that Cabinet had approved the proposal this week.
Ngweda, however, could not say when the ceremony to rename the Northern airport will take place.
“The submission was presented to Cabinet and was finally approved this week. But I cannot give you a specific date on when the whole process will take place,” he said.
The idea to rename the airport was first suggested by land activist, Job Amupanda, in July 2014 when he wrote letters to the Namibia Airports Company (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 war icon’s death in June 2017.
The Windhoek Observer reported in April that NAC board Chairperson, Rodgers Kauta had already agreed last year to rename the airport in Ya Toivo’s honour, but was only waiting for Cabinet’s approval.
The Ondangwa Town Council also welcomed the idea to rename the airport with open arms, but bureaucratic bungling had led to the delay.
Ngweda admitted in April that the ministry had delayed the submission to Cabinet, but promised that it 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 at the time, without giving reasons why the submission had been delayed.
Works and Transport Permanent Secretary, Willem Goeieman, also said the ministry had only started discussing the matter when the Windhoek Observer had made enquiries about the matter in April.
“We are busy drafting the Cabinet submission and it should be sent out before May 15th,” Goeieman said at the time.
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.