The Herald, February 27, 1989

AFRICAN foreign ministers have ended their annual conference with a request to the United Nations to ensure there is a formal ceasefire between South Africa and South-West Africa People’s Organisation.

The request to UN Secretary-General Dr Javier Perez de Cuellar was in a form of resolution adopted in a Saturday night-long closing session of the Organisation of African Unity’s Council of Ministers.

Another resolution declared “part and parcel of the territory” Walvis Bay, an enclave South Africa insists would remain under its control after Namibia’s independence. Walvis Bay is Namibia’s only port. The OAU has long recognised Swapo, which has been fighting to oust South Africa from Namibia since 1966, as the sole legitimate representative of the Namibian people. Under an agreement reached in December, South Africa is to remove its troops from Namibia, which it has ruled since the First World War.

A 4 650 UN peacekeeping force is to be sent to the country in April to monitor the withdrawal, Namibia’s transition to independence and the ultimate elections.

The agreement was reached after US-sponsored talks between Angola, Cuba and South Africa.

Angola, which is Namibia’s northern neighbour, had provided sanctuary to Swapo, and Cuba had about 50 000 soldiers to protect the former Portuguese colony from frequent South African reprisal raids.

In Windhoek, thousands of Namibian black nationalists welcomed the arrival of the Indian head of the UN task force yesterday as a visible sign that independence for the South African-run territory is finally at hand. Dozens of riot police sealed off the biggest hotel in the normally sleepy Namibian capital as General Prem Chand and his team of colonels and aides arrived from the airport.

Supporters of Swapo, that has fought for Namibian independence for 23 years, thronged a nearby car park singing freedom songs. – Ziana-Reuter-AP.

LESSONS FOR TODAY

Namibia attained its hard-won independence on March 21, 1990 with Dr Sam Nujoma becoming the Founding President of the newly independent, and sovereign state.

This followed the implementation of United Nations Resolution 435 calling for free and fair elections in 1989 under the supervision of the United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG).

This was after South African forces capitulated to end its illegal occupation of Namibia in 1988 after a protracted liberation war fought by South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), under its military wing – the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN).

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