SOME members of the Walvis Bay community are saddened about the grave of the late liberation struggle stalwart, Nathanael Maxuilili, and his wife constantly being vandalised.
Community members who cleaned the late freedom fighter’s grave last Tuesday said there have been various complaints about the situation.
Sethos Uugwanga, who spoke on behalf of residents, said they were shocked to find items such as a mattress, blankets and clothing at the grave of the freedom fighter and his wife.
“We come here often to clean around the areas where our family and community members are buried, but recently we have been disturbed by what we have found.
“It indicates that a group of people are sleeping here. It is really sad to see this. The graves have been vandalised many times throughout the years, but to discover that people are sleeping here adds insult to injury.
“This man was instrumental in the liberation struggle. He has done a lot for Namibians. He deserves respect,” he said.
Uugwanga said the community and family members are still hoping for Maxuilili’s remains to be exhumed and moved to Heroes Acre.
Vandals have over the years removed the freedom fighter’s photograph and engraving on his tombstone.
Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa last Thursday said the decision to exhume and move a body is the sole function of the government.
“The issue of exhuming the remains of the deceased is completely a state arrangement. If there is a call from the community and a need of that nature, it will be required of the governor of the region and the Swapo regional coordinator to coordinate and present the issue to the state.
“The party will be there to advise, because he was one of our leaders, but the key person would be the governor,” she said.
Erongo governor Neville Andre this week said he was aware of the situation, and that the matter was receiving attention.
“I saw the news reports on the vandalism of his grave last year and we went to it. The family was invited, and they visited my office with close friends.
“They shared their dismay and requested the transfer of the remains to Heroes Acre. I submitted the matter to the Ministry of Defence and Veterans Affairs, which are the custodians of all issues concerning veterans of the liberation struggle.
“It is receiving attention,” he said.
The late Maxuilili was a Namibian politician, a member of Swapo, and a veteran of the struggle for the independence of Namibia.
He was a deputy Cabinet minister of the Namibian government in the 1990s.
Maxuilili was killed on 23 June 1999 at Walvis Bay in a head-on collision between an ambulance and another vehicle while being transported to the Rooikop Airport.
He was being flown to Cape Town due to a heart problem.