Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi says he would have wanted to spend some time with former president Hage Geingob during his retirement, which was set to be next year.
Masisi was the first foreign head of state to arrive in Namibia yesterday after Geingob’s death on Sunday.
“When you have a friendship this close, you just keep wishing, why did he not get a little extension? It would have been nice to interact with him in his retirement.
“I told him ‘you don’t have just one book to write. You have many books to write’,” said Masisi.
He added: “My deepest condolences, my dear. It came too quickly… I had a very close relationship with his excellency”.
Geingob’s window Monica Geingos told president Nangolo Mbumba Masisi was the late president’s younger brother.
“Hage had asked that one of the eight people that is always notified about everything is president Masisi. He was his younger brother,” the former first lady said.
The Botswana president said when he heard the news, his plan was to be in Namibia on the same day.
“I wanted to come yesterday … but I wanted to give him and the government space to sort things out. My brother would call me at 08h00 and you must continue to do the same,” Masisi told Mbumba.
Reflecting on Geingob’s legacy, Masisi said the late head of state did not sit on his hands.
“He has done a lot for this country. I can hardly think of any of our contemporaries who really deserved the space and peace.
“I am at a loss for words for now to speak about my brother, but there are a lot of very fond memories. It is the first time I come into Namibia and he is [not] there. He had a larger than life presence,” said Masisi.
Masisi pledged his support to Mbumba and Geingos.
“I pledge my complete support to his administration (Mbumba), to Swapo and to the government, the people of Namibia. And I do the same to you. You will always be a sister,” he said.
While Geingob was in hospital, Masisi wanted to pop into Namibia with his wife but his plans did not work out.
“It is devastating.”
Geingob battled health issues in recent months. On 8 January he announced that he was diagnosed with cancer.
He subsequently went for cancer treatment in America on 25 January.
He returned from America on 30 January, following two days of novel treatment.
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