He demanded the best from everyone – Geingob’s bodyguard

Johan Ndjaronguru

Presidential security chief commissioner Johan Ndjaronguru, who served as president Hage Geingob’s bodyguard for about 22 years, says he learned simple things from him, such as packing suitcases properly and the importance of work ethics.

“He always said you don’t make peace with your friends but with your enemies,” an emotional Ndjaronguru said in a tribute to Geingob at the Windhoek Showgrounds on Tuesday.

He ended his tribute with a song titled ‘Lead Me’.

In April 2021, Ndjaronguru infamously dragged Landless People’s Movement deputy leader Henny Seibeb out of parliament after a heated exchange with president Geingob during his state of the nation address.

Ndjaronguru, who was Geingob’s bodyguard since his tenure as prime minister, said no amount or gift will be enough to express his gratitude and respect for the “gentle giant”.

“Neither will there be enough time to narrate, verbalise or write our collective gratitude for president Geingob,” he said, describing Geingob as the foundation of the Namibian House.

A tribute is defined “as a gift, an act intended to show three things, respect, gratitude and admiration”, he said.

“Our relationship deepened since 2002 to date. I can recall some of the attributes of our late president that moulded me and many men and women of high calibre.”

He said one of the first attributes Geingob taught them was to be team players.

“I was guided throughout my tough position, he always demanded the best from everyone around him, as well as being supportive to get you to where he wants you to be,” he said.

He said Geingob exposed him to his first foreign mission.

Exposure to various things expands people’s vision and dreams, which is what Geingob aimed to do, he said.

“He was very attentive, he not only taught us about leadership roles, but also the basics of how to fold a suit the appropriate way,” he said.

He will remember his boss as a teacher who was always ready to educate and inform every person, which made him more teachable.

Ndjaronguru said Geingob was also a very consultative person, who placed great emphasis on dialogue.

“He used to say when people stop talking, they go to war. He taught me never to make a decision in isolation, consult first before making a decision. He always advised above all. Being truthful was very important to him.

“Never lie to the prime minister, he had massive memory,” he said.

Geingob had a softer side, despite looking so serious, which many people did not know, said Ndjaronguru.

PERSONAL SHIELD … President Hage Geingob’s bodyguard of about 20 years, Johan Ndjaronguru, recalls fond moments with him over the years.

“I would describe him as vulnerable.”

He exposed himself to many possibilities of being attacked and harmed either verbally or emotionally and allowed himself to be insulted without seeing himself as a victim, he said.

“He always used to say ‘Johan, you are a victor and not a victim’. When I think about loyalty and patriotism, that embodies our president this cannot be better illustrated than in his commitment to Swapo, the government, his family and Namibia. He was very optimistic, teachable, painfully generous, loving and lovable, even to those who hated him,” he said.

“Alfredo Hengari, Audrin Mathe and those who drafted his speeches would attest to his cunning ability when he walked into a room, he will read the room, and a speech that took more than five hours to prepare would be out of the window in no time,” Ndjaronguru recalls.

Dignitaries, family, friends and members of the public gathered at the Windhoek Showgrounds in Geingob’s honour, with Cabinet secretary George Simataa describing him as a fearless and charismatic leader.

“I speak of president Geingob, the man who many Namibians – judging from the daily television testimonies since his demise – described as a great leader, a liberation hero, a brave and fearless fighter who spoke truth to power,” said Simataa.

He added that Geingob was a caring person who shared with the have-nots, an imposing figure and charismatic leader, a man with a remarkable ability to connect with everyone – young and old.

He described him as a man with a great sense of humour, a God-fearing man, a symbol of hope, a selfless and legendary leader, a unifier and a beacon of unity.

Meanwhile, defence and veterans affairs minister Frans Kapofi said he will remember president Geingob as a mentor who contributed to shaping his life as a leader and for identifying leadership talents.

Namibian Police inspector general Joseph Shikongo described Geingob as a selfless leader and a man who loved his family and made sure he fulfilled both roles of being a good leader and a family man.

“He had humility and was a humble man,” Shikongo said.

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