As reality sinks in that president Hage Geingob has died, young Namibians take solace in the belief that he has left them in capable hands.
Analysts have described the former head of state’s legacy as mixed, however, young people have eulogised Geingob’s relationship with them.
Namibia National Students Organisation spokesperson Dorthea Nangolo commends Geingob’s dedication to the youth, emphasising his open-door policy and willingness to engage with young people.
“As Nanso, every time we needed the president’s audience, he was always eager to hear,” she says.
She says he always allowed the organisation to express their concerns and ideas.
Despite the devastation of his sudden passing, Nangolo says she appreciates the smooth transition of power and the opportunities afforded to young people under president Nangolo Mbumba.
“The late president has prepared the country very well. We’re ready to carry on the work, and we are ready and happy to see that the current president is starting off on a note that pushes the youth agenda,” she says.
“We’re very excited about the children’s parliament opening again. It’s an assurance for us as young people that Geingob is not the only one who was fond of empowering young people,” she says.
Similar sentiments were echoed by a member of the first children’s parliament, Rivaldo Kavanga.
“When Mbumba was appointed, we were sort of caught in limbo, but seeing his speech, one of his very first speeches as president really being to commit to use platforms, was quite exciting and applaudable – especially for us as young people,” he says.
Kavanga highlights Geingob’s impact on groups like children with disabilities, whose social grants were increased during his tenure.
“Young people have really flourished under the tenure of the late president,” he says.
Kavanga says he expects Mbumba to continue championing young people and ensuring the implementation of policies left by the late president.
Namibian parliamentarian Inna Hengari praises Geingob’s compassion and responsibility.
She highlights his belief in the potential of young people, evident through appointments and the establishment of a dedicated adviser on youth matters.
“His unwavering belief in the potential of young people was evident through the appointments he made, granting them a voice in parliament and pioneering the role of a dedicated adviser on youth matters, marking a poignant testament to his faith in the youth,” she says.
“Only time will unveil the extent to which he prepared young people for the future, but for now, let us mourn together and remember the compassionate leader who believed in us all,” Hengari says.
Landless People’s Movement youth commander, Duminga Ndala, acknowledges the numerous opportunities Geingob provided young people with to develop their skills.
“I think he believed in the potential and abilities of young people. This is evident in the number of young people he groomed since his time as prime minister to his Presidency . . . His pioneering step in Africa of establishing such an office set a benchmark for other African countries to emulate,” she says.
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