Okahao injects new life into Nujoma statue plan

Okahao injects new life into Nujoma statue plan
Okahao injects new life into Nujoma statue plan

Africa-Press – Namibia. THE Okahao Town Council says it will reinitiate the proposal to erect a statue of former president Sam Nujoma (93) at the town.

Plans were advanced in 2019 according to which the town council appointed an advisory committee to oversee the erection of Nujoma’s statue at his hometown.

The committee consists of retired senior government officials.

The town’s chief executive officer, Junias Jakob, last week said the erection of Nujoma’s statue was only a proposal.

“It is an idea yet to be initiated. We will re-initiate and let you know of the progress,” he said.

The town’s spokesperson, Victoria Haihambo, earlier this year said the project has been put on hold due to financial constraints.

However, a source close to the project says the town council in 2019 submitted a proposal to have Nujoma’s statue erected at the town.

The former president allegedly accepted the honour.

“The idea was to erect the statue near his village (Etunda), which is now in the jurisdiction of the town, and to build a green park. This is to show this is the village where he was born,” the source says.

Nujoma was born at Etunda, about three kilometres east of Okahao.

In December 2019 the town council appointed a committee, chaired by former diplomat Hopelong Ipinge, to spearhead the erection of the statue.

The cost of the project is not known, and it was not clear who was contracted to carve the statue.

Ipinge is deputised by the former Namibian ambassador to France, Nangula Iithete, while Okahao’s chief executive officer (CEO) heads the secretariat.

Other members of the committee are former Windhoek CEO Niilo Taapopi, former State House permanent secretary Ndeutala Angolo, Okahao local authority councillor Johannes Uushini, ex-permanent secretary of agriculture Josef Iita, Government Institutions Pension Fund general manager Elvis Nashilongo, founding Okahao mayor Hilda Haipinge, and retired brigadier general David Shiimbi.

Former Oshana chief regional officer Johannes Kandombo, businessman David ‘Kambwa’ Sheehama, and Okahao constituency councillor Leonard Shikulo serve as ex officio members.

At the time, the town council said Nujoma’s statue would complement tourism at the town.

Contacted for comment last week, Iipinge referred The Namibian to the town council, while the chairperson of the management committee, Johannes Uushini, referred the newspaper to Haihambo and Jakob.

“I serve on the high-level committee to advise the council on matters of interest, but I am not mandated to speak to the media,” Uushini said.

Meanwhile, Nujoma’s personal assistant, Paul Shipale, last week said he was not aware of the Okahao Town Council’s plan to erect a statue of the country’s founding president.

If built, this would not be the first statue of Nujoma in Namibia.

The Namibian in 2013 reported that the government spent N$284 000 on the construction of a bronze statue of Nujoma, which was unveiled at Omugulu Gwombashe in August that year.

The statue of Nujoma was sculptured by Mansudae Overseas Project, a North Korean company that was also contracted to craft the ‘Unknown Soldier’ at the Heroes’ Acre on the outskirts of Windhoek.

In March 2014, another statue of Nujoma was unveiled in front of the Independence Memorial Museum in Windhoek.

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