Cde Ambrosius Haingura: A great campaigner for equality and freedom
19 Nov 2010 - Story by Shampapi Shiremo
AMBROSIUS Hamutenya Haingura was born on June 30, 1957 at Kasivi village in the Kapako Constituency of the Kavango Region. He did his primary education at Bunya and secondary education at Linus Shashipapo and Rundu Senior Secondary School. He matriculated at Rundu Secondary in 1978 and as from 1981, he furthered his education at the University of Zululand in Natal, South Africa, where he obtained a degree in Public Administration in 1983.
'Hamboro', as he was affectionately known in the Kavango Region was a well-known internal Swapo activist during the liberation struggle. He turned his own house in Nkarapamwe Location in Rundu into a meeting place for Swapo members, a move that was tantamount to suicide at the time. Thus, unsurprisingly, his activities caused him and his family to be continuously targeted and harassed by Koevoet and SWATF operatives. There were various attempts on his life and one nearly succeeding in killing him. In May 1985, a SWATF agent shot him at Rundu Chiefs Club. According to the widow, Hon. Petrina Haingura (2010: Interview), the family lost hope on him surviving that shot, but, that it was only by the grace of God that he survived. Thus, he was able to see the dawn of independence, a mission that he had campaigned for during his entire youth.
She also vividly remembers when one day a security squad arrived at their house where Swapo members where having a 'braai' and singing freedom songs. A white senior officer pulled out a gun and pointed it at her husband's head. The officer demanded the crowd to stop singing those Swapo songs and that failure to do so their leader ' Haingura ' would be shot dead on the spot. Luckily, upon being requested by other comrades to abide by the 'apartheid' officer's order, the crowd kept silent and the man lowered his pistol and left the scene but with death threats against Ambrosius Haingura. From the mid-and late-1980s, Ambrosius Haingura and many of his close comrades who are still alive were openly known by foe and friends alike as instigators of young people to join the People's Liberation Army of Namibia.
On October 1, 1988, Ambrosius Haingura, and many of his fellow comrades organised the first biggest Swapo rally in Rundu at the Dr Romanus Kampungu's Secondary School soccer stadium. Among others, this rally was to be addressed by current Deputy Premier, Marco Hausiku. However, the rally was violently disrupted when an army helicopter came to hover around the crowd threatening to shoot at everyone. Some people were beaten up by Koevoet operatives. That day is to date still remembered in Kavango Region as 'Ezuva lyoMatjeketjeke' meaning the day of the helicopters.
In Haingura's own words during an interview with NBC Rukavango Service in 1996, the security operatives continued to target him even after the UNTAG observer team had arrived in the country. Shortly after April 1, 1989, while on his way to Mpungu area from Windhoek where he attended a Swapo meeting, he was detained for several hours at a road blockade at Mupini by security agents who were remobilized before April 1. They charged at him that he was responsible for spreading rumours that since SWATF was demobilized, Swapo members would now have a field day in beating them up. He was released later, due to fear that his arrest would attract UNTAG's attention. However, in few days time, while on his way back from Sinzogoro village to Rundu, he was again detained at the same road blockade for several hours and was only released during the middle of the night.
The following day, they started to visit his house almost every 30 minutes looking for him. However, the Catholic priest at Nkarapamwe Catholic Station at Rundu harboured him for a week until the charges against him were dropped when the lawyers intervened.
Today, many people who knew Ambrosius Haingura do agree that it was due to him and many of his comrades that the Swapo Party clinched the Kavango Region in that landmark election of 1989. The victory came through, despite the use of violence and intimidation on Swapo members and its leadership by the security forces.
In a book entitled 'Posters in Action', historians, namely Kletus Likuwa and Bertha Nyambe (2009:89) contend that in the Kavango Region, the outcome of the 1989 election indicates that it was a hotly contested election between Swapo and the DTA.
In 1992, Ambrosius Haingura was appointed Regional Commissioner of the Kavango Region and Tsumkwe area. The same year, 1992, he was elected as a Regional Councillor for Rundu Urban Constituency. During the period of 1993 to 1995, he served as the first Regional Governor of the Kavango Region. From 1996 until his death on September 21, 2000, Haingura served as a member of parliament in the National Council.
At Haingura's burial service, Founding President Sam Nujoma cautioned the future generations not to betray the memories of heroes and heroines who have sacrificed their lives and shed their blood for the country's liberty. He further told the mourners that: 'Haingura will always be remembered as one of the first crop of dedicated politicians in Namibia who has played a great role in the consolidation of democracy in our country and for the establishment of democratic institutions in Namibia. His outspokenness, straightforwardness, his openness and his frankness will always be treasured by all those who knew him, friends and foe alike.' Nujoma declared on that day that 'Namibia and the Swapo Party have lost a great campaigner for equality and freedom'.