Sam Nujoma

President of Namibia from 1990 to 2005 (born 1929)

Samuel Shafiishuna Daniel Nujoma (born 12 May 1929) is a Namibian revolutionary, anti-apartheid activist and politician who served three terms as the first President of Namibia, from 1990 to 2005. Nujoma was a founding member and the first president of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) in 1960. Prior to 1960, SWAPO was known as the Ovambo People's Organisation (OPO). He played an important role as leader of the national liberation movement in campaigning for Namibia's political independence from South African rule. He established the People's Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in 1962 and launched a guerrilla war against the apartheid government of South Africa in August 1966 at Omungulugwombashe, beginning after the United Nations withdrew the mandate for South Africa to govern the territory. Nujoma led SWAPO during the lengthy Namibian War of Independence, which lasted from 1966 to 1989. Namibia finally achieved independence from South Africa in 1990, holding its first democratic elections. SWAPO won a majority and Nujoma was elected as the country's first President on 21 March 1990. He was re-elected for two more terms in 1994 and 1999. Nujoma retired as SWAPO party president on 30 November 2007.

Sam Nujoma in 2004

Quotes edit

  • For the Namibian people and for myself, this day, March 21 1990, is the most memorable and indeed the most emotional moment in the annals of our history. This solemn hour is the moment, which our people have been waiting for, for more than a century. The is the day for which tens of thousands of Namibian patriots laid down their lives, shed their precious blood, suffered imprisonment and difficult life in exile. Today, our hearts are filled with great joy and jubilation because our deepest and longest yearning has been realized.
  • For the Namibia people, the realization of our most cherished goal, namely the independence of our country and the freedom of our people, is fitting tribute to the heroism and tenacity with which our people fought for this long-awaited day. We have been sustained in our difficult struggle by the powerful force of conviction in the righteousness and justness of our cause.
  • Our nation blazed the trail to freedom. It has arisen to its' feet. As from today, we are masters of this vast land of our ancestors. The destiny of this country is now fully in our own hands. We should, therefore, look forward to the future with confidence and hope.
  • Taking the destiny of this country in our own hands means, among other things, making the great effort to forge national identity and unity. Our collective security and prosperity depends on our unity of purpose and action, Unity is a precondition for peace and development. Without peace, it is not possible for the best and talented citizens of our country to realise their potential.
  • Our achievement of Independence imposes upon us a heavy responsibility, not only to defend our hard-won liberty, but also to set ourselves higher standards of equality, justice and opportunity for all, without regard to race, creed or colour. These are the standards from which all who seek to emulate us shall draw inspiration.
  • The world has enormous resources to fight and defeat poverty, hunger and under- development. We must insist, in this process of dialogue, on a realistic balance between the total world spending on war and weapons technology, on the one hand, and the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and Targets, on the other. What is required is political will and compassion on the part of world leaders.
  • We cannot ignore the ever widening income gap between the rich and the poor, between the industrialised North and the developing South. This situation represents a dangerous time bomb which the world can ill-afford to let take its own course. Our planet earth is too small to perpetuate the unacceptable co-existence of abject poverty and abundance of prosperity within its fold. We will only deal with this situation effectively, when we promote mutually beneficial commercial trade between the North and South within the framework of North-South and South-South Cooperation.
  • I intend to undertake certain causes that are dear to my heart and be ready to assist national, regional and international efforts, especially in the areas of poverty eradication, people with disabilities, food production through agriculture and infrastructure development.
  • Without concrete and sustained peace and stability, Africa's economic growth and poverty eradication will remain unfulfilled dreams. They will make our promises empty and a betrayal to the African masses. We must act collectively to nurture their hopes and make their dreams come true.
  • Production is the basis for wealth creation and economic growth. In turn, wealth creation and economic growth are the bases for employment creation and poverty eradication. For the purpose of improving the welfare of our people, it is therefore imperative that as a nation we must promote productivity and competitiveness as critical elements in wealth creation and economic growth. The critical challenge facing our country, however, is how to overcome constraints to wealth creation and economic growth. This means that we should address such constraints head on. Some critical constraints to productivity and growth are, among others, knowledge and skills deficit and lack of capacity for marketing and market development. Indeed, knowledge and skills are keys to productivity and competitiveness. Our primary resource is therefore our people. Knowledgeable citizens are able to invent new products and skilled workers are competent to produce quality products. It is for this reason that we have prioritized education and training as the key to economic growth, social development, employment creation, productivity and competitiveness.
  • It is well known that Africa is one of the richest regions of the world. For example, the Southern Africa region contains a variety of resources, including natural gas, coal, uranium, diamonds, gold, platinum, perennial rivers etc. These resources must be harnessed to improve the standards of living of all our people. For that to happen, we should embark upon strategies which promote manufacturing and add value to our natural resources. In that manner we will not only be able to create wealth but will also be able to enhance economic growth and improve the competitiveness of our economies in the international markets.
  • When the Founding Fathers were calling for African Unity, they were calling for economic emancipation, co-operation and integration of the entire African continent; because they fully understood that political freedom would remain insufficient and meaningless unless it was accompanied by genuine economic independence.
  • As you are all aware, the achievement of freedom and independence of our continent was only a critical point of departure but not the destination. For this reason, our youth should become active participants in the socio-economic development of our continent in order to take it to the advanced level of development. We should therefore continue to educate our youth and equip them with relevant technical skills, knowledge, cultural norms and values. In this way, we will be able to achieve our strategic objectives, namely the eradication of poverty, disease, ignorance and under-development.
  • History has taught us how the enemies of peace, freedom and social progress have caused division, political instability and economic sabotage in some sisterly countries on the African continent and embarked upon maneuvers and machinations in order to mislead and converts some of our fellow African compatriots and turns them against their own people with the view to reverse the gains of our freedom and independence.
  • Taking the destiny of our country in our own hands meant, among other things, making a great effort to forge a national identity based on a common resolve and unity of purpose and action as well as set for ourselves higher standards of equality, justice and opportunity for all our people irrespective of colour, race, ethnic or place of origin.
  • The best way in which we can address social and economic inequalities in our country is by ensuring that all our people, especially the youth, are provided with quality education.
  • I also urge our youth to reject tribalism and the social evils of alcohol and drug abuse, violence against women and children as well as to remain focused on pursuits that are aimed at building a better future for themselves and our country. Furthermore, the youth are the backbone and future leaders of our continent. They should therefore study hard and equip themselves with relevant skills and knowledge so that we can produce our own medical doctors, agriculturalists, engineers, geologists and other technical personnel who will play a meaningful role in the socio-economic development of our country in order for us to eradicate hunger, ignorance and diseases from the face of our continent.
  • However, I am always conscious that despites our tireless and time tested work towards reconciliation, unity of action and purpose, national reconciliation as well as peace and stability that shaped Namibia into the democratic, peaceful and stable country it has become, the accolades bestowed upon some of us belong to our collective national efforts.
  • Our common destiny, as Africans, is defined by peace, security, development and prosperity; free from poverty, disease, underdevelopment and conflicts. We want a continent whose citizens occupy a pride of place among the people of the world. We want a continent that has reclaimed its pre-eminence as a centre of technological innovation, scientific excellence and cultural advancement.
  • The maintenance of peace and stability in the country is imperative for socio economic development. Where there is no peace and stability, surely, there will be no meaningful development. Therefore, we must ensure the smooth transition, from generation to generation, to build on past successes, and progress to new generation.

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