Geingob was a man on a mission 

Tom Alweendo

It is rather difficult to refer to president Hage Geingob as ‘late’ – it is surreal; it is unimaginable.

President Geingob was an extraordinary man. A man who spent all his life in public service, and he leaves an indelible mark in our memory.

I got to know Geingob only in 1989, soon after he returned from exile. In that year, as Swapo’s national director for elections, he criss-crossed the country. As party functionaries, we had an opportunity to interact with him.

My first impression of him was: Here is a man on a mission.

A man determined to achieve something. Determined, against all odds, to make his mark on the Namibian political landscape.

I want to remember Geingob for two important attributes, which I hope will not disappear with his tragic demise.

Firstly, he strongly believed in the importance of building a Namibia of which all the inhabitants, regardless of their social status or any other characteristic, feel a sense of belonging. He dreamt of a country where our nationhood as Namibians is celebrated and counts above anything else.

Hence his idea of a Namibian House, where no one feels left out. We remember how he extolled the virtues of inclusiveness. His mantra was: exclusion spells conflict, while inclusion spells harmony.

He departed while his dream of a Namibian House was incomplete.

And now the question, especially for us as national political leaders, is this: What are we prepared to do to realise the incomplete dream of a Namibian House?

It is my wish and hope that we will take up the mantle of leadership to ensure the dream is not deferred indefinitely.

The second attribute is that Geingob firmly believed in our ability as a nation to be prosperous. In this, not only was he persistent, but he was also a real dealer in hope.

When our economic potential looked bleak, he believed with creativity, the economy has the ability to do better.

He charged us to reimage ourselves and chart a brighter future for this and the next generation.

Today, we are on the verge of prosperity. We have witnessed exciting economic developments in the country of which he was the main champion.

The question for us is again this: In this ‘Year of Expectation’, are we willing to take over where Geingob left off and play our respective parts to deliver prosperity to Namibian citizens?

Indeed, we have lost an icon; we have lost a mentor; we have lost a legend.

Our hearts ache for the loss of one of our brightest lights.

We must now learn how to live without Hage.

To his widow, madam Monica Geingos, the children, and the entire Geingob clan, we offer our sincere condolences.

We mourn with you.

Be comforted by the fact that “those we love do not go away. They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always nearby. Still loved, still missed and forever dear to us”.

Our beloved Hage will always walk beside us every day and always nearby.

Go well, our beloved president; go well our leader.

May his soul rest peacefully in eternal life.

– Tom Alweendo is Namibia’s minister of mines and energy.

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