Geingob was people’s president – PM

Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila

Prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila described the death of president Hage Geingob as shock and sadness, calling it “one of the darkest days in our nation’s history”.

Speaking at Geingob’s memorial service in Windhoek on Friday, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila described Geingob as not only a leader, but a “father and the pillar of our Namibian House”.

“Although president Geingob had publicly disclosed his health condition, and we all appreciated its seriousness, we hoped that he would pull through it.

“When the news of his death came, it caused profound shock and sadness. That shock continues to reverberate across the world,” she said.

The prime minister, who recited a poem for Geingob, highlighted his ability to unite people across diverse backgrounds. While mourning his loss, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila expressed gratitude for Geingob’s “selfless service” in achieving independence, establishing democratic governance and inspiring public servants.

She stressed that his legacy extends beyond Namibia, leaving an indelible mark on the continent and the world.

“Although he has physically departed from this world, his legacy shall continue,” she said.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila described Geingob as a revolutionary, transformational leader, scholar, administrator, diplomat, negotiator, philanthropist and exemplary public servant.

“We lost a man who touched many hearts, a caring leader who dedicated his life to serve and uplift others. Dr Geingob was a mentor who championed the establishment of a public service charter on a solid foundation.”

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila issued a call to honour Geingob’s memory by striving for national unity, embracing the spirit of ubuntu, pursuing excellence and dedicating oneself to the betterment of Namibia. She urged public servants to embody the principles he championed in the Namibian Public Service Charter.

Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo recited a poem at the memorial service in tribute to the late president, who he said helped to develop the country’s economy and whose legacy will always be remembered.

“Hage was a relentless taskmaster, as many visionary leaders tend to be, but there was never a dull moment with him,” Alweendo said.

He added that Geingob pushed Cabinet members to work harder as a way to honour the sacrifices of Namibia’s heroes and heroines.

Alweendo highlighted two key attributes of Geingob: his strong belief in inclusivity and his unwavering optimism for Namibia’s economic prosperity.

Alweendo challenged fellow leaders to carry forward Geingob’s dream of a ‘Namibian House’ where all feel a sense of belonging and to continue striving for national prosperity.

Alweendo said Geingob departed while his dream of a Namibian House was incomplete.

“It is my wish and hope that we will take up the mantle of leadership to ensure the dream is not deferred indefinitely,” Alweendo said. Geingob died on 4 February in a Windhoek hospital while receiving treatment for cancer.

A biopsy after a routine medical check-up in January had revealed “cancerous cells”, Geingob’s office said at the time.

In June 2013, Geingob underwent a brain surgery and revealed he had survived prostate cancer. Last week, defence and veterans affairs minister Frans Kapofi shared a glimpse into Geingob’s final days, describing a meeting where he witnessed a change in the usually jovial leader.

He recalled how he and the late president watched football together in his last days.

He spoke of how the Geingob he encountered was “not the comrade Geingob I had gotten to know”.

“In his last days, I had the privilege to visit him, and we spent about two hours discussing all sorts of things, while watching his favourite sport, football. When I left, I was a bit shaken, because this was not the comrade Geingob I had gotten to know,” the minister said at a memorial service for Geingob in Windhoek last week.

Kapofi said it was distressing to see Geingob going through so much agony.

He said he and Geingob shared a common journey politically and professionally, which lasted 44 years.

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