Those unpretentiously close to Hidipo Hamutenya, aka HH, must be patient and forgiving, as it would be long before his history is written in full.
By self-acclamation Namibia is a mixed free market economy, which is left to economic forces and where the State has a minimal hand in things.
In the parlance of the proletariat, the working class, as against the bourgeoisie, the propertied class, this is indeed the capitalist system.
On the other hand, it is an economic system where the State is expected to have an active role.
On the one end of the continuum of such a system is where the role of the State is confined to the bare minimum of a welfare state. Basically the impoverished masses are expected to make to do with the crumbs falling from the tables of the well-to-do and affluent.
On the other extreme of the continuum are the means of production that are supposed to be owned by the working classes, a system that would be described as socialism, or communism, in some instances.
The ideology of the latter egalitarian system has been called Marxist-Leninism, granting of course its various interpretations and revisions over the years. But in an independent Namibia there have been very few adherents and/or defenders of socialism.
Besides being a nationalist movement striving for the total emancipation of Namibia, for the Swapo Party, and also Swanu, the stated mission had never intrinsically been merely about political liberation, but economic liberation, with political liberation as the springboard towards ultimate economic liberation.
Hence, the oft-heard calls by political leaders in independent Namibia for the second phase of the struggle.
During the days of the liberation struggle, the apartheid colonial regime – of course with their Western allies – tried to turn the noble Marxist ideology of the Namibian liberation movements against them, with Marxist-Leninism and communism likened at best to the nemesis of democracy, and at worse the epitome of dictatorship and anarchy.
This notwithstanding, its goal of ensuring that all citizens share in the national resources equally is laudable.
What might eventually have happened to this ideological disposition of both Swapo and Swanu cannot be any wonder or surprise, as it had come to be proven that the belief in socialist ideology and egalitarianism was but a face-saving gimmick by many an avowed liberator.
Today the only political formation one hears espousing any Marxist-Leninist ideas in Namibia is the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP).
There may be others within the Swapo Party, or Swanu, but if they are there they have been ominously silent.
One of the persons within the Swapo Party to have been an ardent believer in and advocate of Marxism-Leninism is none other than the late HH. He must have been arguably the last standing cadre in this regard – if ever there was any conviction at all in the Marxist-Leninist ideology by others within Swapo.
One cannot but recall the witchhunt in the early days of independence by the local media, still fearful of the red ideology of Marxist-Leninism.
One example was when HH, in an attempt to intimidate him, was cornered in the corridors of the then South West Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SWABC), modern-day Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), in Pettenkoffer, where he was a guest of the English radio national service.
One of the pertinent questions to him, which must have been prompted by the producers – of course prodded by their invisible ‘verkrampte’ bosses – was whether he still believed in socialism?
Since his passing two weeks ago, much has been said about HH’s intellect and wit. But strangely, among the flurry of tributes, there seems to have been little mention – if any at all – of his ideological disposition and the relevance thereof to him, as the dedicated, unwavering cadre that HH had come to be and departed as With the exception of passing references, such as “ideologue”, as vague as this may be what it means, the mention by veteran journalist Estelle de Bruyn on NBC’s tribute to HH, should suffice.
De Bruyn was categorical about the fear “they”, and surely “they” must be encompassing many other people – including the apartheid establishment, and its Western sponsors – had for HH over his adherence to Marxist-Leninist ideology. And it is surely is HH, the egalitarian, and not the communist, that Namibia will miss. Namibia cannot afford for HH to have been the last ideologue.
Long Live HH!
Read full story on New Era Newspaper Namibia