I was not in a rush to replace Geingob – Mbumba

Nangolo Mbumba

President Nangolo Mbumba says he was reluctant to replace president Hage Geingob immediately after his death on 4 February. Speaking to traditional leaders from the northern region of the country on Saturday, Mbumba said when his Cabinet colleagues told him he would replace Geingob the day the former president died, he questioned why the replacement had to be done in a rush.

Mbumba described Geingob as his friend, brother and and in-law.

The new president was introducing himself to traditional leaders from Ondonga, Oukwanyama, Uukwambi, Ombadja, Ombalantu, Ongandjera, Uukwaluudhi and Uukolonkadhi. “I said, can we not wait? Why are we rushing? People said the country can’t remain without a president. It’s just like the police force. It cannot be without a head. It was tough,” Mbumba said. He asserted to the traditional leaders that there was nothing untoward about his ascent to the Presidency following Geingob’s death. This comes amid claims that Mbumba’s swearing-in as the country’s president was not in full alignment with the country’s Constitution.

“I was elected through parliament prior to my appointment as vice president of the country. I did not become vice president from the bushes,” Mbumba said.

He added that when he assumed office as the country’s president, former president Hifikepunye Pohamba told him not to panic.

“He said don’t panic, don’t run away but stand firm in the job,” Mbumba said. “I came to introduce myself to you. I don’t want to be in the office without introducing myself to you,” he said.

Mbumba told the traditional leaders that before he introduced himself to them, he went to introduce himself to Angola and Botswana, and soon he will go to South Africa. “Some people say, you have a good job, you eat nice food, you have a nice car. This job is tough, every day you are told different stories from different people,” he said.

He added that when he assumed office, he received requests from individuals asking him to appoint them as ambassadors. However, Mbumba said the ambassadors currently serving and appointed by Geingob will remain in their positions. In his address, Mbumba also cautioned Namibians not to be divided because of the upcoming election, but to stand together. According to him, during election years, some people align themselves to some political leaders.

He said this should not be the case this year. Speaking at the same event, the chairperson of the eight traditional authorities in the north, chief Herman Iipumbu, said farmers in the northern regions are faced with a devastating drought which has seen crops wilting at an early stage and resulted in there being no feed for animals.

“You have come to a point where the country is faced with many challenges. Like this year, we have not received enough rainfall.

There is no water in the streams, there is no water for animals,” Iipumbu said. However, Mbumba said the Office of the Prime Minister and deputy prime minister will send officials to do a drought impact and vulnerability assessment.

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