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Politics | Society

Namibia's Sam Nujoma "hospitalised"

Sam Nujoma in 1977, as leader of the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO)

© J Riedel/UN Photo/afrol News
afrol News, 11 February
- Former Namibian President Sam Nujoma "has been hospitalised, following a pacemaker procedure or pacemaker implantation," according to "highly placed family and medical sources."

Phil ya Nangoloh from the Namibian human rights group NamRights says he had talked to these family members and medical sources, speaking "on condition of remaining anonymous." Ex-President Nujoma, according to him, was admitted to "the cardiac unit of a key medical institution in the country" on Wednesday, adding it was "a heavily guarded ward."

The operation in course for Mr Nujoma was the implantation of a pacemaker - a small electronic device implanted in the chest of the patient to help control abnormal heart rhythms.

Although the sources have also revealed what appear to be finer particulars about the health institution concerned, "NamRights believes that to disclose the name and nature as well as exact location of the health institution are of little consequence at this stage," Mr Nangoloh says in a statement today.

"There is, nevertheless, substantial circumstantial evidence, strongly suggesting that President Nujoma's extraordinary and or unusual silence as well as sudden disappearance from public view is, by all counts, involuntary," he adds.

As an example, Mr Nujoma recently failed to attend a lavish gala dinner marking the 75th birth day of business magnate, Frans Aupa Indongo. His absence at the recent opening of the Ohorongo cement plant near Otavi is another indicator, mentioned Nujoma watcher and NamRights executive director, Mr Nangoloh.

Since shortly before the December 2010 festive season, 81-year-old former President Nujoma has not been seen, heard and or read in Namibian media. Moreover, prior to that, there have been widespread media speculations that Nujoma was admitted to a health facility in Cape Town, South Africa.

Recently, Namibia's largest Afrikaans daily newspaper, 'Republikein', published two letters to the editor by concerned citizens on the subject of Mr Nujoma's sudden disappearance from public view "without any information from the Namibian authorities."

Mr Nujoma has an important role in Namibia's history and public life, having led the freedom fight against apartheid South Africa as the founding leader of the SWAPO independence movement. As a "father of the nation," he also was Namibia's first President after freedom in 1990, serving until 2005.

"In the likely event that Dr. Nujoma is, indeed, hospitalised, NamRights wishes him a very fast recovery," Mr Nangoloh emphasised.

"However, in order for the public to wish him or pray for his fast recovery, as was done, for example, in the recent case of former South African President, Nelson Mandela," Mr Nangoloh urged Namibia's Health Minister Richard Kamwi to "clear the air around Nujoma's alleged hospitalisation. In any case, the public has the right to know," he added.

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