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Global leaders laud Geingob’s multilateralism

2024-02-27  Aletta Shikololo

Global leaders laud Geingob’s multilateralism

During his final address to the press in November last year, president Hage Geingob proudly acknowledged the global recognition of his leadership prowess, considering it a cornerstone of the legacy he leaves behind. 

This acknowledgment resonated beyond words, as dignitaries from every corner of the world paid their last respects at his funeral this weekend.

Geingob’s funeral was attended by 27 heads of state, six former presidents and first ladies, nine regional and international organisations, 22 non-resident ambassadors, 18 government representatives, and nine imminent persons.

These leaders echoed a common sentiment, remembering the late Hage Geingob as a committed Pan-Africanist whose influence extended far beyond borders, nurturing not only Namibia’s progress but the entire African continent. “To you, my Namibian brothers and sisters, be proud of your country, be proud of your leader you just lost. At the African Union, we are immensely proud of him,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson.

He also commended Namibians for a smooth transition of power after the death of Geingob. “The passing of the baton and the peaceful transfer of power following your passing, confirms, if any further confirmation were needed, the strength of the institutions and the anchoring of democracy in this beautiful country, the Namibian house that you helped build. A model that we hope and pray will become a reality on the rest of the continent, particularly now when anti-constitutional changes of government are flourishing on the continent.”

Kenyan president William Ruto said Geingob believed in the complete liberation of the African continent. This includes economic liberation and the liberation of the youth from the yoke of unemployment.

“He stood tall as a Pan-Africanist who believed in the unity of our continent. He believed that independence is a project, therefore, we must work hard on this independence and freedom project especially now so that we can liberate not just for independence’s sake but we can liberate our economies, settle the debt, and liberate our young people stuck in unemployment. These are principles president Geingob worked so hard to achieve,” Ruto noted.

In Geingob’s memory, Ruto said, Africa must continue agitating for the reform of the global financial architecture to unchain the African continent from debt. With opulent resources at its disposal, Africa should not be characterised by poverty but by prosperity and endless opportunities, he said at the State Memorial attended by sitting presidents, heads of State, former presidents and representatives of major international organisations such as the United Nations, African Union and the Commonwealth.

United Nations (UN) deputy secretary general Amina Mohammed said Geingob was an advocate of the Sustainable Development Goals - including climate action, a strong believer in women’s rights who promoted women in public life, and a proud African and multilateralist whose presence was strongly felt at the United Nations and who advocated for our continent on the world stage.

“All of us best honour his memory by following his example and continuing his work. By championing the principles, he lived by: Anti-racism, justice, democracy, solidarity, and human rights for everyone,” she said.

The late Geingob was also remembered for playing a vital role in fighting against imperialism in Southern Africa.

Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa commended Geingob for speaking against the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West. “He was a loyal, dependent friend and ally to Zimbabwe. My late brother Geingob consistently and fiercely called for the removal of the unilateral sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western countries, he also worked tirelessly to consolidate long-standing relationships that exist between our two countries,” said Zimbabwe’s leader. Geingob’s impact has also been etched into the history of Zambia. 

Zambian president Hakainde Hichilema announced, in honour of Geingob’s legacy, that the Kasama Road in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, has been renamed Dr Hage Geingob Road.

Hichilema said Geingob spent 17 years in Zambia and he played a role in the country’s development.

“He was viewed as a Zambian citizen, for not only having lived in Zambia but also contributing to the growth of Zambia and the Zambian citizens have asked me to return his name in our country,” announced Hichilema.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president Felix Tshisekedi urged the widow, Monica Geingos, and Geingob’s children to find solace in his legacy, wherein equality for all, unity, and prosperity reign supreme.


Global tributes

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier described Geingob as a great statesman who helped shape Namibia.

He said Geingob will be remembered as a staunch anti-apartheid activist and freedom fighter on the African continent. 

In Germany, Steinmeier said, they will remember Geingob for always extending the olive branch to reach on sensitive matters such as the 1904-1908 genocide Germany committed on Namibian soil.

“The path of reconciliation that we embarked upon almost 10 years ago has not been an easy one. But together we have gone very far - and want to go further,” Steinmeier said.

Meanwhile, the Cuban representative Esteban Hernandez, said Geingob was a man who exhibited a brave, firm, independent, and solitary posture towards the Cuban Revolution, and against the economic siege imposed for over 60 years.

“He did it also in order to reduce the consequences of natural disasters and other adverse events that have affected us, in addition to his actions in favour of the well-being of our people and for the consolidation of bilateral cooperation in several areas,” said Hernandez.

In an interview with this publication, the European Union (EU) ambassador to Namibia, Ana Beatriz Martins said she remembers Geingob as “a very kind and human man, determined and concerned to leave the country on a good solid economic source”.

Martins expressed her impression of Geingob’s vision on the green economy agenda, he was driving until his last moments.

“I had the pleasure to meet him in Brussels when he came to inaugurate the first EU-Namibia business forum and to turn the global gateway forum for heads of state and he spoke in a very determined and compelling way about Namibia’s commitment to contribute to the course of green economy. I was impressed by his vision,” said Martins.

2024-02-27  Aletta Shikololo

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