President Hage Geingob has described veteran politician Dirk Mudge as a peacemaker who contributed immensely to nation-building. Mudge died yesterday in a Windhoek hospital at the age of 92.
His son, Henk, confirmed to New Era that his father had contracted Covid-19.
“I always say that you don’t make peace with friends – you make peace with enemies. Our transition to independence was fraught with risks that could have placed our peace in jeopardy,” Geingob said yesterday.
However, Geingob said, with a leader of the calibre of Mudge on the other side, Swapo was able to iron out differences with him and once agreement had been reached, he stood by his word.
“He was a peacemaker and a man of principle at a crucial time in the history of our country. I will remember with fondness a man with sharp intellect. Dirk Mudge made tangible contributions to nation-building.”
Mudge was initially a member of the National Party. He later co-founded the Republican Party (RP) of Namibia and the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), now known as the Popular Democratic Movement. He was a member of the Constituent Assembly and the first National Assembly until he retired in 1993. He is also a founder of Namibia’s Afrikaans daily Republikein and its then-publisher Democratic Media Holdings.
“No white politician has made a sterling contribution towards democracy and constitutionalism that our nations enjoy today in that regard. He is unparalleled,” said PDM president McHenry Venaani.
He said Mudge’s wit, intellect and foresight in realising that white dominance must end has earned him a good name.
“We mourn and empathise with his loved ones,” he said. Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi yesterday described as “significant” Mudge’s contribution to the events that shaped Namibia in the final stage of the struggle for independence.
“It is very sad to hear the news of the passing of Dirk Mudge. He had a long political career in this country,” he said.
During the drafting of the constitution, Katjavivi said Mudge after the elections in November 1989 took the positive step of proposing the Swapo draft constitution should serve as the basis for the country’s discussions.
“This helped to simplify and speed up the drafting process and, given the skilful handling by the chairperson Dr Hage Geingob, this helped to build consensus,” he said.
In February this year, Katjavivi said he convened a gathering of the founding fathers and mothers to mark the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Namibian constitution.
“Dirk Mudge was able to be present, along with others. On that occasion, he spoke passionately about the need for us to continue to preserve peace and stability in our country,” he said.
“On behalf of the National Assembly, I wish to extend our deep-felt condolences and sympathy to the bereaved family and friends. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
On his part, Henk said his father was one of the visionary leaders this country has ever had.
“My father was incorruptible, principled and [a] visionary leader, who lived life according to his principles; we will miss him as a father,” he said.