THE issue of whether the Reiterdenkmal should remain next to the Independence Memorial museum or make way for a statue of Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma has sparked emotional debate among Namibians.
It even forced President Pohamba to speak out against those Namibians who oppose replacing the Reiterdenkmal with a statue of the Founding President.
“When I first flew to Lusaka, we landed at the Lusaka international airport. I flew back again one day and when I arrived in Lusaka, they had renamed the airport the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
“The Americans have George Washington’s face on their money, but they do not complain.
“Why do we have a problem with having Nujoma’s face on our money? He fought for the liberation of this country. This was the man who wrote letters to the Tanzanians together with the likes of Andimba Toivo ya Toivo for us to get our independence.
“The Tanzanians are our friends. They helped us and these people are wonderful people,” Pohamba said when he addressed the Swapo Party Youth League Congress on Wednesday morning.
“You were not there – he was! And he can tell you what happened. Ngurare is right. You were not there. It is not your fault. That is why we are here to tell you what happened during the liberation struggle.
“I support the idea of having a statue of Sam Nujoma. I do not have a problem with that and I want the media to go out there and tell everyone that I said this,” President Pohamba said.
He condemned rumours about him campaigning for politicians like Swapo Vice President Hage Geingob and Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana in the controversial succession race in the party.
“Some will say that I am campaigning for these two people, but they were there. It is because of them that we have a democracy today,” he said.
He said that while the Swapo Party had taken young pioneers like SPYL secretary Elijah Ngurare to lead the youth, he encouraged more young people to join the political party and to become involved in the democratic decision-making process.
“Each and every generation must define its mission in the life of the nation.”
Ngurare encouraged the youth to contribute to genuine rural, regional and economic empowerment.
“I welcome the fourth National Development Plan. Money allocated for projects should be spent on the youth and not sent back to the Treasury [Ministry of Finance]. Therefore we should demand jobs and economic empowerment,” he said.