Tribute to a multi-talented leader and banking executive

Tomas Koneka Iindji

Omas Iindji or ‘Omukokoli’ as most of us fondly called him, was a remarkable leader and a true servant of his people.

He was gifted with a unique personality that drew people of all ages and races towards him.

Iindji had a natural ability to converse with complete strangers and make them feel at home. It was that personality which made him stand out as a leader and a true national asset.

When I met him for the first time around 2004, he was a fairly young man trying to cut his teeth in banking.

He quickly made inroads into business circles, and by 2009, he was elected chairman of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) northern branch as it was called then.

Iindji’s amazing networking abilities and charisma made him a natural choice for this significant role.

He became the branch chairperson at a time when local businesses faced numerous challenges, chief among them being stiff competition from foreign businesses.

The other key challenge faced by local businesses at the time was a difficult trading environment between Namibia and Angola, which was brought about by acute shortages of foreign currency in Angola.

Iindji understood his assignment and hit the ground running by engaging various institutions and individuals head-on.

He worked tirelessly to ensure that every policymaker who mattered was made aware of the challenges facing businesses everywhere in Namibia.

I am yet to meet a more passionate advocate of local business interests than Iindji.

He was never found wanting in defending and promoting his members’ interests at any given platform.

I recall his statement at a business meeting at Ongwediva in May 2010 when the NCCI tried to articulate the impact of “unfair competition” on the local enterprises.

He said: “our local businesses embrace the concept of competition, but reject a ‘competition of unequal’ from foreign businesses.”
That statement summed up what we were advocating.

The business community felt that foreign investors should be confined to specific sectors of the economy, especially those with high entry barriers.


Iindji was so full of energy and charisma that as the chief executive of the NCCI at the time, he undoubtedly became one of my strongest pillars of support and the greatest asset in advocating a business environment which was conducive to investment and business growth.

When trade between Namibia and Angola almost collapsed due to acute shortages of foreign currencies in Angola around 2010 to 2015, the NCCI advocated the use of Namibian and Angolan currencies to facilitate trade between the two countries.

I asked Iindji to lead a small ad hoc committee of business people and traders to craft proposals for the revival of cross-border trade between the two countries.

He consulted widely and came up with some proposals key to which was the possible replacement of the United States dollar with Namibian and Angolan national currencies for trading activities at Oshikango.

He was instrumental in mobilising key stakeholders whom we eventually managed to bring together at Oshikango to discuss this proposed solution.

Throughout his tenure, Iindji demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and a selfless approach to serving others.

His impressive networking and human relations abilities enabled him to forge strong connections with both friends and business associates.

As a renowned banker, his career trajectory exemplified his dedication and commitment to excellence.

His rise through the ranks of banking showcased his exceptional skills and knowledge in the industry, making him one of the best banking executives in our economy.

Beyond his professional achievements, Iindji will be remembered for his approachable and accommodating personality.

He was an active member of the Lutheran Church in which he served as a lay preacher.

He is renowned for his energetic singing during his sermons and his ability to keep his audience’s attention.
Iindji exhumed positive energy consistently.

With his death, Namibia has been robbed of a multi-talented leader, a true servant of the people and a passionate banker.

I am deeply saddened by his sudden and untimely departure from this earth, knowing that he was at the peak of his career and had so much more to offer this great country and to humanity.

I extend my deepest condolences to his dear wife, Iyaloo Shiimi-Iindji, his children, his dear mother, Kuku Gwiitamalo, siblings, relatives, friend, and colleagues.

His legacy will continue to inspire and shape the business landscape in Namibia.

May his soul find rest in eternal peace.

– Tara Shaanika is a former chief executive of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), and currently serves as the chief executive of Namibia Asset Management. He writes in his personal capacity.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News