WINDHOEK, 28 MAR – Former Ovaherero Paramount Chief Clemence Kapuuo was patriotic to the course of Namibia’s independence and contemporary history has been distorted not to depict this fact, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani has said.
Speaking at the 40th commemoration of Kapuuo’s death here on Tuesday, Venaani described him as a leader of unparalleled stature who never demanded recognition.
“When Kapuuo was offered an American Cadillac, he refused it. When he was offered a three-bedroom house, he refused it,” he said, adding that Kapuuo also turned down R 100 000 from the wealthy Oppenheimer family in 1971.
Kapuuo was assassinated on 27 March 1978 by two armed men in Katutura. Both South Africa and Swapo accused each other of the killing.
Venaani said Kapuuo worked tirelessly to advance the interests of Namibia, irrespective of political affiliation, creed or race.
“He was a petitioner, a nationalist, teacher, traditional leader and a man of the people,” he added.
Contrary to popular belief, Venaani said, Kapuuo never sided with the apartheid regime or Bantustan governments as purported by certain quarters.
“Kapuuo was patriotic until his death. He never joined any Bantustan government. That is why he was killed; he believed in democracy,” he said.
The PDM leader added that it was the reason why Kapuuo petitioned against the UN resolution to declare Swapo as the sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people.
Had it not been for Kapuuo’s intervention, Resolution 435 of the United Nations (UN) would never have seen the light of day, according to Venaani.
As Chief Hosea Kutako’s translator in the 1940s, Kapuuo played a pivotal role in the first petitions that were sent to the UN.
“With all due respect, Katjikururume (Hosea Kutako) used to read and write, but he was not educated in English. It was Kapuuo who wrote those petitions,” said Venaani.
Echoing Venaani’s sentiments, PDM Parliamentarian Vipuakuje Muharukua said present day Namibian history has been distorted and Kapuuo does not get due recognition for his heroic deeds towards the attainment of the country’s independence.
Describing the day when Kapuuo perished, Hiruke Kaapama, one of the two men who witnessed the shooting, said Kapuuo’s body lay on his lap and he took him to the mortuary.
“I am the only person who gave a police statement on that particular event. We tried to pursue the person who shot him; unfortunately, we couldn’t do much,” said Kaapama, who is now a lecturer at the University of Namibia.