‘Geingob a lion and a lamb’ – Presidency staff

Grace Uushona

I never thought I would one day have to pay tribute to a man who was larger than life, a towering giant, a fearless leader, a lion, and equally as gentle as a lamb.

In paying our final respects to our beloved hero and mentor, allow me to highlight some of the unique features of Geingob as an administrator of note, and how, through his guidance, we achieved the required milestones at the Presidency.

Geingob was very particular about work ethics and etiquette in the day-to-day running of the office.

He also had high expectations about the conduct of all staff members in the Presidency. In this context, he always encouraged all those in the Presidency to go beyond the call of duty to ensure that the highest office in the country would become the centre of excellence.

For example, the president would often call our office lines, and expect us to answer promptly.

He would also undertake regular visits to our offices, unannounced, and query what we were busy with, or, if we were not at the office, where we were and what we were doing.

Thirdly, he emphasised the mantra of effectiveness and efficiency.

To demonstrate the difference between effectiveness and efficiency, he always narrated the story of ‘Bertha’ and the sending of emails without following up to confirm receipt and a clear response.

Geingob’s leadership style was consultative, and to this end, he would consult his senior staff members at the round table, where administrative and policy issues would be interrogated and deliberated on.

Afterwards, he would take a firm decision and direct the way forward.

It would not end there – the president, being meticulous, would always expect feedback.

Consultation was important to him, and thus he would always ask whether we have consulted the relevant stakeholders, and if we have not, we would be sent back because the assignment would be incomplete.

The concept of inclusivity was not only a mantra, but a way of living for our president, as he made us all feel part of the administration of this country.

He would often jokingly ask us at the round table: “As we are sitting here, is everyone in The Namibian?”

*Grace Uushona is the executive director in the Presidency. This tribute was delivered on behalf of the staff members in the Presidency.

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