Geingob completed his race – Hinda-Mbuende

Maureen Hinda-Mbuende

Honourable speaker, honourable members of this distinguished house, Geingob family and Namibians at large.

It is with humility that I also take the floor to share a few thoughts in bemoaning this great statesman who has decided to hear the call of our heavenly father at a time we all would have wanted him to stay with us a little longer.

But His time is not our time, en wat Hy gedoen het, is welgedaan.

Our big tree has fallen, warrior of the mountains, he has established and shown us standards at all fronts, he paved the way.

He has completed his race. Compatriots, lift your chins, stand firm, step up, the ball is in our courts.

My memory about this great man in leadership, stature and deeds is overshadowed by our encounter as the Pan-African Centre of Namibia (Pacon) when we jointly organised the Africa Rising seminar on 12 September 2014, with equally remarkable statesman as keynote speaker, former Ghanaian president Jerry John Rawlings, who has since passed on, hosted by our then prime minister Hage Geingob.

Thus, my reflection will primarily focus on recollections of that iconic event during which we also bestowed the posthumous pan-African icon award to the father of pan-Africanism Kwame Nkrumah, as Geingob was indeed a renowned pan-Africanist in his own right.

Relevant to add that it was also in memory of Steve Biko, the father of black consciousness, and our own Anton Luboskwi, as we want to console ourselves that he has a meeting with all those fallen great men of his stature as we speak – such as the likes of the late presidents Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba and Julius Nyerere, Rawlings, Kenneth Kaunda and others.

Allow me to add that on the eve of his presidency, as a pan-Africanist we brainstormed about the role of pan-Africanism in his government in a one-on-one we had.

We have two main outcomes: He announced his desire to establish a ‘Ministry of Good Governance’, which later turned out to be the Ministry of Public Enterprises. Pacon then also organised the Africa Rising seminar.

At that occasion we were cautioned that Africa needs to take its rightful place in the world economy.

The question was posed whether this was a statement of fact or an expression of hope as the post-colonial Africa still faces the challenge of an unjust world economic order which keeps us disadvantaged.

Upon receiving the news of Rawlings’ death, he made a moving tribute which I wish to quote as it is so befitting his stature.

Hage Geingob, third president of Namibia, we will remember you as a trendsetter who played a pivotal role in establishing our democratic systems, processes and institutions and socio-economic development of Namibia together with your predecessors.

In as much as your departure from our temporary world is hard and difficult for us to accept, you remain a consequential figure and transformational leader of our continent who has made, in addition to being a husband and father, outstanding and indelible contributions to a prosperous Namibia and the Africa we want.

Recommitment to work towards redress of these evils and continued building on his vision are motivations we will tap into in honour of his legacy.

To his widow, Monica Geingos, our remarkable first lady, and to the family – your loss is our loss.

Take commiserations, we cry with you.

The Namibian nation and the world at large is crying with you.

Only time can wipe your tears and lessen your pain.

May the good memories you were able to build and faith keep you going. Tjiita tjizembua.

Rest in peace, yours truly, son of the soil.

Van stof is ons gemaak en tot stof sal ons almal terugkeer!

*Maureen Hinda-Mbuende is the deputy minister of finance and public enterprises.

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