President Mbumba Must Leave His Own Legacy

Malcolm Kambanzera

The dust has settled. We have laid to rest a great statesman. Rest in eternal peace, Dr Hage Gottfried Geingob, son of the Namibian soil.

Simultaneously, a new dawn has arrived.

Congratulations, Dr Nangolo Mbumba. Life must continue for the Namibian nation.

The transition from vice president to president presents a unique opportunity for leaders to shape their nations’ destinies and leave an indelible legacy.

In the case of president Nangolo Mbumba, it represents a profound challenge and opportunity to forge a distinct path and craft his own legacy.

Despite his commitment to preserving his friend’s legacy and continuing his work, it should be noted that he (Mbumba) is the substantive commander-in-chief now.

It is expected of him to lead the nation substantively as well.

Ideally, you would expect that he conjure up a personal one-year transformative economic plan that complements the Harambee Prosperity Plan and Vision 2030.

A bridge between these two plans would allow him to leave office with his own legacy.

Attract a new breed of investors, sanction the construction of some new economically viable projects, expedite a job creation plan, or simply a new direction for the country.


Despite the time frame left for president Mbumba, drawing on an analysis of African vice presidents turned presidents, Mbumba can chart a course that propels him to his own legacy.

Below are the legacies of selected African leaders that can possibly distil valuable lessons for Mbumba’s tenure.

– Kgalema Motlanthe: Of course, this is an odd reference. However, even Motlanthe who had a mere seven months in office left an indelible mark on South Africa.

He brought an end to “the era of HIV-AIDS denialism in South Africa”, saving millions from potentially succumbing to HIV-AIDS.

Motlanthe scrapped the advocacy of herbal remedies over anti-retroviral drugs. His prioritisation of the HIV-AIDS crisis was lauded by scientists and nations all over the world. That is his legacy and he will always be remembered for that.

– Goodluck Jonathan: Jonathan’s presidency in Nigeria serves as a beacon of inspiration for leaders navigating transitions of power.

Mbumba can glean lessons from Jonathan’s emphasis on economic diversification and infrastructure development. To carve his legacy, he could prioritise initiatives to bolster Namibia’s non-resource sectors such as manufacturing and tourism, reducing dependence on traditional industries.

– Samia Suluhu Hassan: Suluhu’s ascension to the presidency of Tanzania heralds a new era of leadership and economic reform.

Mbumba can draw inspiration from Suluhu’s emphasis on investment promotion and infrastructure development. By fostering an enabling environment for domestic and foreign investment, he could stimulate job creation and economic growth in Namibia.

– Rupiah Banda: Banda’s presidency in Zambia exemplifed resilience and foresight amid economic challenges.

Mbumba can learn from Banda’s pragmatic approach to economic management and crisis response. Implementing sound social policies and proactive measures to mitigate external shocks could strengthen Namibia’s economic resilience and stability.


President Nangolo Mbumba faces the imperative of leaving his mark on the nation’s economic trajectory.

To do so, he must learn from the experiences of his African counterparts and chart a distinct course for Namibia’s development.

Rather than living in the shadows of his predecessor, he must seize this opportunity to lead with vision and purpose, guided by the following principles:

  • • Economic Diversification: Mbumba should prioritise diversifying Namibia’s economy beyond its traditional sectors, such as mining and agriculture, to stimulate growth and reduce vulnerability to external shocks.
  • • Inclusive Growth: Ensure that economic development benefits all Namibians, particularly marginalised communities – through targeted social welfare programmes and initiatives to further empower women and youth.
  • • Infrastructure Development: Invest in critical infrastructure projects to enhance connectivity, facilitate trade and investment, and unlock Namibia’s economic potential.
  • • Fiscal Prudence: Exercise fiscal discipline and prudent economic management to safeguard Namibia’s financial stability and promote sustainable growth.
  • • Leadership with Vision: Demonstrate bold leadership and vision, articulating a clear agenda for Namibia’s future and inspiring confidence among citizens, investors, and international partners.


It is your time. It is not by chance. It is your destiny.

Lead with courage, conviction, and determination, forging a distinct path that honours Namibia’s past while embracing its future.
The legacy continues!

* Malcolm Kambanzera is a legal scholar with a keen interest in politics. He is a youth leader who served as the SRC president of Unam and the secretary general of Nanso.

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