Sunday, March 21, 2010

Namibian President Pohamba Salutes Former Frontline States Leaders

Pohamba salutes former Frontline States leaders

Zimbabwe Herald News Editor

President Hifikepunye Pohamba has hailed the former Front Line States — of which Zimbabwe was a member — for the role the bloc played in ending apartheid in Namibia, as well as for the support it rendered his nation since independence.

In his address soon after his inauguration for his second term of office in Windhoek yesterday, President Pohamba said international solidarity had made his country the success story that it is today.

The inauguration was coupled with Namibia’s 20th independence anniversary celebrations.

President Mugabe and several other Heads of State and Government or their representatives joined Namibia in yesterday’s double celebrations at the Independence Stadium.

President Pohamba said: "I am humbled to see so many of our friends, brothers and sisters who represent the international community on this special occasion.

"Our nation will forever be grateful to the fact that Namibia gained independence under the banner of international solidarity, freedom and justice.

"We value the diplomatic and material support we received at our time of need.

"I am aware that some nationals of the then Front Line States lost their lives as a result of the war for national liberation.

"This notwithstanding, our brothers and sisters stood firm and never wavered.

"We will always be grateful for the invaluable support we received from them."

Thousands of Namibians attended the celebrations held under the theme "A visionary nation on the road towards 2030", in reference to Namibia’s target of becoming a developed country by that year.

Other leaders who joined President Mugabe in congratulating Namibia on its two decades of independence were Presidents Armando Guebuza (Mozambique), Joseph Kabila (DRC), Jacob Zuma (South Africa), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Rupiah Banda (Zambia), Ian Khama (Botswana) and Dennis Sassou- Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville).

Also represented at a high level were Swaziland, Lesotho, Angola, Seychelles, Cuba, Mauritius, the Russian Federation, China, the Republic of Korea, Finland and Norway, among others.

Former leaders in attendance included Dr Kenneth Kaunda (Zambia), Sir Ketumile Masire and Mr Festus Mogae (both Botswana), as well as former South African First Lady Mrs Zanele Mbeki, Angola’s Mrs Maria Neto and Tanzania’s Mrs Maria Nyerere.

In his speech, President Pohamba added: "Today we have a dual celebration, namely my inauguration for the second term of office as the President of our Republic and the historic 20th anniversary of our nation’s freedom and independence.

"On that historic day of 21 March 1990, following a protracted and bitter struggle for national liberation, we achieved our objective of political emancipation when we hoisted the Namibian flag of freedom, independence and sovereignty, and lowered the flag of apartheid colonialism.

"The vote for freedom and democracy was, and remains, an irreversible choice by all our people.

"We will forever remember our heroes and heroines

who inspired us to fight for freedom and independence.

"We fought many battles. We crossed many rivers of blood and we won a decisive victory on 21 March 1990.

"The spirit of dedication and courage must continue to inspire us to confidently face the present and future challenges."

On Saturday evening, the Namibian leader conferred medals — some posthumously — on several individuals who had contributed immensely to the liberation of the land formerly known as South West Africa.

Among those honoured were Dr Kaunda, President Nguesso, Oliver Tambo, Julius Nyerere and Agostino Neto.

President Mugabe arrived in Namibia on Saturday to a warm and rapturous welcome from Zimbabweans living and working in that country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi accompanied him.

He returned home last night and was met at Harare International Airport by Vice President John Nkomo, senior Government officials and service chiefs.

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