Yesterday’s parliamentary session was dedicated to remembrance as members of parliament paid tribute to president Hage Geingob.
The atmosphere was filled with a mix of grief and admiration as political leaders and representatives shared their reflections on the statesman’s legacy.
Popular Democratic Movement president McHenry Venaani reflected on the impact of Geingob’s death.
“When the president disclosed his battle with his illness last month, the country was gripped with fear and anxiety. We refused to confront the reality of the president’s mortality. What truly stands out is the spectacular display of admiration by the thousands of Namibians from all corners of the country who descended upon public spaces wherever they find themselves across the country to spend time celebrating the legacy Dr Geingob left behind,” Venaani said.
Reflecting on Geingob’s journey from Augustineum Training College to Fordham University and the graduate faculty of the New School, New York, Venaani highlighted Geingob’s intellectual prowess and unwavering commitment to serving his nation.
He acknowledged the important role Geingob played in crafting the Namibian Constitution and praised his dedication to public service and nation-building.
“Regardless of our political differences and affiliations, we shared a common vision of a better Namibia.”
Venaani hailed Geingob as a man of principle, a formidable political opponent and a cherished friend whose nature and commitment to inclusivity fostered solidarity among Namibians.
Venaani pledged to uphold Geingob’s ideals of press freedom, human rights and gender equality.
Landless People’s Movement chief whip Henny Seibeb recounted Geingob’s first-hand experience of colonialism and the struggle for liberation across Africa.
“He lived through the hopes of political winds idealised and realised by the great pan-Africanists and statesmen of our times,” Seibeb said, listing iconic figures such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and Abdel Nasser Hussein as having inspired Geingob’s commitment to freedom and justice.
He also drew parallels between Geingob and revered liberation heroes from Damaran folklore.
“[As] told by our families around traditional fires, our elders will always refer to the struggle wars, old and new wars and whisper in our ears that there were three modern day folklore heroes, the legendary liberation heroes from their perspective, namely, that time simply known as, Theo-Ben Gurirab, Moses //Garoeb and Hage Geingob,” Seibeb said.
He proposed the establishment of the Dr Hage Gottfried Geingob Foundation in honour of the late president.
Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo said it was difficult to refer to Geingob as ‘late’.
“It is surreal. It is unimaginable.”
Reflecting on their first encounter in 1989, Alweendo recalled Geingob’s determination and sense of mission as he criss-crossed the country as Swapo’s national director for elections.
Alweendo highlighted two key attributes he hoped would endure beyond Geingob’s passing – that he believed fervently in inclusivity, envisioning a ‘Namibian House’ where every citizen feels a sense of belonging, and that he was a staunch advocate for Namibia’s prosperity, inspiring hope even during challenging economic times.
“Indeed, we have lost an icon… a mentor… a legend. Our hearts ache for the loss of one of our brightest lights. And we now must learn how to live without Hage.”
Alweendo called on fellow leaders to honour Geingob’s legacy by continuing the work he began, striving to fulfil the dreams of a united and prosperous Namibia.
More parliamentarians are expected to deliver their tributes during the next few parliamentary sessions in honour the late president.
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