By Staff reporters
WINDHOEK– HIDIPO Hamutenya, one of Namibia’s leading political lights is being buried on Saturday, October 20, with a nation united in sorrow.
Hamutenya, or HH as he was known, was as one of the most influential figures in Namibia’s history both during the liberation struggle and after independence.
Business leaders, academics, politicians, family and friends have been paying tribute to HH, an intellectual and a political trailblazer.
To some, he is the President Namibia never had.
During the struggle for Namibia’s independence HH built himself as one of the ruling Swapo’s lead political strategists and was credited for penning a significant number Swapo’s strategy documents including the party’s political programme, as he grew the party ranks to its elite organ, the Politburo.
After Namibia attained her independence in 1990, Hamutenya was considered one of the most influential politicians in the country, perhaps, only second to founding President Sam Nujoma. He served in various capacities in the Nujoma administration and continued to pave the way for his peers as he pioneered a number of policies and projects at the various ministries he led.
HH was widely believed to be Nujoma’s right hand man until they fell out in 2004. The fallout led to Hamutenya leaving his political home, Swapo, to form the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) in 2007. Despite being a popular figure, one who was revered within Swapo, Hamutenya’s political career outside Swapo gained little traction.
SWAPO Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba described the late Hamutenya as astute politician and good author who dedicated his youth to the struggle of the liberation of Namibia.
“I will remember him as an author, he liked to write. He wrote slowly but articulately if you look at language and thoughts.
He was one of the best politicians in exile and back home. Despite what happened in between, all I can say is HH was a patriot who devoted his youth to the struggle for independence of this country,” Mbumba said.
Hamutenya was accorded a national hero status. President Hage Geingob also declared October 13-15 as a period of mourning.
Hamutenya was born on June 17, 1939, at Odibo village in the Ohangwena Region in north central Namibia. He went into exile in early 1961 and after nearly 30 years in exile, Hamutenya and thousands other Namibians returned home in 1989 following the implementation of United Nations resolution 435 that culminated in the country’s independence in March 1990.
Former Prime Minister Nahas Angula said he worked with HH in Swapo’s education secretariat in Zambia between 1975 and 76. Angula said that during the time, Hamutenya was based in Tanzania but he worked hard to help shape the minds of young Namibians who came to Zambia.
“He was a great leader and he will deeply missed,” Angula said.
At independence, Hamutenya served as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting. He later served as minister of Trade and Industry before a stint at Foreign Affairs under founding President Sam Nujoma.
Having left Swapo, poor showings with his Rally for Democracy and Progress in the general and parliamentary elections of 2009 and 2014 saw Hamutenya re-joining SWAPO in August 2015.