Namandje’s Tribute to Geingob

To president Hage Geingob’s entire beloved family and madam Monica Geingos, we are here to mourn and remember the precious moments we shared with a distinguished freedom fighter, an icon of the Namibian liberation struggle.

A man who, to all of us, embodied and was committed to so many but good aspirations, values and norms for our nation.

Hage was unquestionably a public servant of excellent skills in public administration.

A gift he was to our nation.

Hage’s legacy of constitutional democracy, peace, unity and reconciliation – seen in action through constitutional and statutory systems, institutions and processes he helped establish – is evident from our constitutional preamble (he crafted), among others, to the effect that our nation, having emerged victorious in its struggle against colonialism, racism and apartheid, must strengthen its resolve not only to cherish, but also to protect the gains of our long struggle for independence.

This could never have been achieved had president Hage (and of course others) not created a constitutional framework conducive to a country which in the past, in monumental proportions, suffered the pernicious effects of apartheid – to grow and develop in a political atmosphere of peace and unity.

We have to credit, in some great measure, Hage for all of this.

We must. Even perhaps when it is too late to do so.

Hage, as our chief constitutional architect, speaks and will continue speaking past this mourning period – through our Constitution – that we as a nation should have a desire and determination to promote among all of us the dignity, unity and integrity of the Namibian nation internally and in its relations and associations with the outside world.

Hage, as our chief constitutional architect, ensured that there is a specific and obligatory duty on us to achieve and maintain national reconciliation and at all points to foster peace, unity and common loyalty to a single state.

He also hated tribalism.

In fact, he was tribal-neutral.

He hated and abhorred those who engaged and actually traded in ‘tribal arrogance’ and ‘dominance’, just as he hated those who used ‘tribal victimisation’ for cheap political theatrics.

He wanted a nation of which the sons and daughters relate to one another without tribal impediments or consideration for the unity of purpose and harmonious coexistence.

He said this until a few days before his departure.

Those who knew Hage know that he could never have failed to ensure that our Constitution reminds members of the executive to remain vigilant so as to ensure that the scourges of apartheid, tribalism and colonialism do not again manifest themselves in any form in our free and independent Namibia.

Dear mourners, simply how can one adequately account for all the good deeds, accomplishments, and work by this icon?

Namibians across the political spectrum believe, universally so, that this is a man of impeccable stature, and a statesman of unmatched political standing.

Yes, the leader, with a great measure of sensitivity and humility when handling topical and contentious matters of the state.

Simply how can one avoid doing an injustice to Geingob when relating and narrating his journey for over the last 60 years, with one primary aim: to achieve independence and constitutional democracy in Namibia and to build a united and prosperous Namibian house?

Simply how can one relate, at this difficult occasion, the challenges Hage went through (without wavering) in ensuring that the institutions and policies of apartheid are dismantled in a reasonably short period of time from the date of independence?

Fellow mourners, Geingob is the man. Not ‘a man’, but ‘the man’ who drove a historical and yet aggressive legislative agenda in our country.

This legislative agenda brought massive and yet beneficial socio-economic changes to our country.

This should also now be accepted – by all of us.

By everyone – I dare repeat.

To avoid lawlessness, anarchy and a rule of law-related crisis Geingob ensured that at independence there was a temporary preservation of laws that were in force immediately before independence, with a qualification that such laws shall remain in force until repealed or amended by an act of parliament, or until they are declared unconstitutional by a competent court.

Hundreds of these bad laws had since been removed from our statute books.

Geingob drove this as both prime minister and president.

Examples:

At independence women were treated like property because of the discredited concept of ‘marital power’ of and by husbands over their wives (when the Married Persons Equality Act was enacted).

So-called children out of wedlock were denied certain benefits, including inheritance from their fathers, there was discrimination in the enforcement of law in criminal cases such as rape, and various laws excluded the majority of the population, particularly black people, from certain benefits.

He caused uncompromising reforms to be made in this respect.

The results are there for all and sundry to see.

By the time Geingob completed his first term as prime minister in 2002, hundreds of Constitution-aligned pieces of legislation for the benefit of Namibian people had been put into force.

This area of achievement by Geingob is usually ignored and underrated.

To me it is one of the biggest achievements by him in our quest as a nation to dismantle the shameful legacy of apartheid and colonialism in our country.

It is for that reason that we must celebrate the life of a man who brought our nation very close to the desired aspirations and, in fact, closer to the status of an admired and respected constitutional democracy among the nations of the world.

Geingob leaves a prepared nation, the nation on the course, to achieve prosperity for all.

Geingob crafted a dynamic constitution – a living one – which not only sets out the historical bygones of yesteryears, but a supreme law guiding the nation in all aspects of our lives.

As Tate Mbumba, assisted by meme Netumbo and others, lead us going forward, we pleasantly see in them Hage.

We are sure his legacy will guide them to safely steer the Namibian ship.

May the soul of commander-in-chief Hage Geingob rest in power.

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