By Risco Lumamezi
Caprivi African National Union Secretary General has died at the age of 49 in Katima Mulilo State Hospital after his long illness.
Mr. Robert Kamwi Sililo ,died while he was making a follow up of his stomach operation afflicted by a gang of thugs, who stabbed him in a stomach with a knife and robbed his plate of pap and a cellphone on May 28, 2010. When he was on his way to his training college in Katima Mulilo day light.
Sililo stayed for one week at Katima Mulilo State hospital until he was transferred to Rundu hospital, some 500 km from Katima Mulilo for a surgery, after he protested with hospital authority. His story generated some hot debate on the public domain when residents complained about the well known thug “Karipi and his group” yet police took no action.
He was born on 1 April 1964, died on March 18 and was laid to rest on March 22 at Kabbe Village.
He went to school up to his Secondary level at Caprivi Secondary School being an active CANU Youth leader and NANSO leader an ambit body of SWAPO party during the post independence of Namibia.
Mr. Sililo left his wife Ms.Theresa Matengu and 10 children, 6 boys and 4 girls, two sisters and one brother. His mother and father have both passed on.
During his life-time he worked as a teacher and later resigned due to his active participation in politics as a full –time member of SWAPO and he lectured at the Institute of Higher Education in Windhoek he then later started his own business called Zenith Training College which offered several certificates and diploma courses in business and management.
Apart from that Late Sililo was involved in civil advocacy organizations as an outspoken activist.
Earlier in 2007 he conducted his first interview with Caprivi Vision after he lost chances not to register his new political party called Candidature for National Unity [CANU] which had same abbreviations like that of the Caprivi African National Union with the Electoral Commission of Namibia which denied him not to register based on facts that it had same connotation with the CANU party which merged with SWAPO.
ECN’s response glued him and his other compatriot the likes of his cousin Mr. Benson Kaapala to revive CANU which as its Secretary General and Mr. Kaapala became its Vice President.
After his party was turned down, he then continued advocating for the revival of CANU as most of the Caprivians were fragmented into politics, the idea of forming a new political party Candidature for National Unity started in March, 2006.
Late Sililo who spent his life time in politics argued that, he wanted to see CANU which is in SWAPO to have its own membership as according to him this was the party which unites Caprivians.
However, according to the Party’s President Mr. Alex Mabuku Kamwi, the untimely death of Mr. Sililo is a sadden news that will take CANU a lot of time to fill his gap.
Mr. Kamwi expressed condolences to the bereaved family and the entire nation on the loss of his Secretary General.
“Since December 2013 he was not well on his operation, he told me he was supposed to go to Gobabis and see his medical doctor” said the lonely Mr.Kamwi.
He also pointed out that Mr. Sililo as the second secretary general of CANU since its formation in 1960s died in the same way the then first Secretary General of CANU late Mr. Crispin Mulonda who was one of the committee members to draft a new constitution of CANU into merger of SWAPO in 1965 in Botswana.
President Kamwi described Sililo as a committed person who could take assignment very seriously. “I remember when we visited the British High Commissioner in Namibia and the UN Resident Coordinator, and then we celebrated after handing our concerns… I don’t know who really can fit his shoes this is still giving me a headache” he said.
Mr. Kamwi is confident that Sililo rested at the time when the ir petition was handed to the UN Decolonisation committe and the governments of Britain and South Africa on the Caprivi Strip issue According to Mr. Kaapala, a family member described Sililo as a hardworking man who was assaulted many times on SWAPO during apartheid, “he moved from SWAPO because he was not satisfied based on the conditions between these relationships (merger) that they never had”
He was a secretary for Caprivi Concerned Group on the name change as he did not want to change the name “he was on the forefront of this, he worked with that idea that he wanted to serve the Caprivians” said Mr. Kaapala who is the Lord Chairman of Katima Alliance Development Association.
Sililo, studied law in South Africa, he had an honors diploma and Masters Degree in Business Administration and he was a PhD Student in Finance at the time he passed on.
Mr. Martin Lukato, NDP President also expressed his condolence to the family and entire nation that Mr. Sililo was a brave Caprivian leader who could not fear ” we fought together when we formed the Caprivi Concerned Group … I remember when we held our first protest with 9 members and was on the forefront” he said that people were afraid to assemble to march against the concerns of the Caprivians but with Mr. Sililo it was something easy and he described him as a person who could not look back .