Youth laud Geingob as stalwart

HOLDING HANDS …Young people gathered at the Independence Arena in Windhoek last Friday to pay tribute to the late president, Hage Geingob. Many described him as a visionary leader who believed in the capacity and potential of young people. Photo: Selma Iyambo

NATIONAL Youth Council (NYC) executive chairperson Sharonice Busch has lauded president Hage Geingob for intentionally integrating young people into Namibia’s systems of governance.

Busch was speaking at a memorial service held in honour of Geingob in Windhoek on Wednesday.

“President Geingob never ceased to champion the well-being and advancement of all young people,” she said.

“At the highest level, president Geingob worked to ensure that young people participated actively in governance throughout appointments, such as by creating an office that advised him on youth matters and enterprise development, which was occupied by our colleague Daisry Obal,” she said.

Busch said Geingob also appointed several other young people to positions of influence during his tenure, including Esther Simon, who was appointed to the high-level panel on the Namibian economy, and Emma Theofelus, Patience Masua and Ephraim Nekongo, who were appointed as members of parliament.

“Notably, president Geingob appointed honourable Emma Theofelus as one of our youngest Cabinet deputy ministers,” she said.

“He further appointed me as a member of the Swapo party central committee among his six appointees,’ she said.
Busch said Geingob worked well with young people, highlighting that “he was not shy to make decisions that ensured young people had a seat at the table”.

Noting Geingob’s interest in dialogue and consultation, she reflected on his engagement with young people at the National Theatre of Namibia in 2019, where he interacted with a large group on a one-on-one basis.

“The Namibian youth loved president Geingob, and he loved us too,” Busch said.

She said Geingob hosted a presidential youth engagement in 2021 where young leaders convened.

She went ahead to encourage young people to learn from Geingob’s legacy, who she deems as a “revered global statesman”.

“As we remember and mourn president Geingob, we are called to heed his lessons of unity of purpose, inclusivity and peace, and to cherish widely the celebrated Namibian Constitution and principles of constitutionalism he lived by,” Busch said.

“We offer our deepest condolences to madam Monica Geingos in the loss of a man who shared profoundly in your vision of a Namibia with one economy. We console his beloved children and both the Geingob and Kalondo families,” she said.

Speaking at the same event was the minister of environment, forestry and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, who described Geingob as “a precious gift – not only to Namibia, but to the world at large”.

“Geingob was an extraordinary man,” he said.

Shifeta said Geingob had on several occasions spoken about his possible death.

“Little did we know it would be sudden,” he said.

“He was meritorious in solving conflicts beyond our borders with his diplomatic mediation and negotiating skills,” Shifeta said.

He reflected on some of Geingob’s milestones, noting that he began his leadership journey as a young man.

At the age of 24, Geingob assumed the role of a representative for Swapo at the United Nations.

At the age of 34, he assumed the position of director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia.

In June 1989, Hage Geingob, then 48 years old, assumed the leadership of a senior contingent of the exiled Swapo party.

He was subsequently appointed as the chairperson of the Constituent Assembly.

At the age of 49, he achieved the distinction of becoming Namibia’s first prime minister.

At the age of 74, he became the third president of Namibia.

Shifeta further conveyed his message of condolence to the former first lady and the nation.

“My sister Monica, your grief is ours. The nation is grieving over the loss of a departed precious gift,” he said.

“I would like to assure you of our unwavering support during this moment of sorrow,” he said.

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