Albertina Nakale WINDHOEK - Former President Hifikepunye Pohamba says the late Theo-Ben Gurirab as a stalwart of the Namibian revolution said his diplomatic skills and acumen were legendary. Pohamba reminisced he met Gurirab for the first time in 1971, in New York, when he was serving at Swapo’s mission at the United Nations and at the same time studying at Temple University. He said Gurirab played crucial roles such as when he demonstrated his negotiation skills as he interacted not only with the United Nations Council for Namibia but also with the so-called contact group of Western Nations. “Even when the South African regime became intransigent and tried every trick in the book to derail Namibia’s independence, Theo-Ben’s diplomatic acumen prevailed. Even when South Africa linked Namibia’s independence to the withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola, Swapo benefited greatly from the advice of comrade Gurirab,” recalled the former president. Gurirab who passed away in a Windhoek hospital after a long illness will be given a hero’s funeral and he will be buried at Heroes’ Acre on Saturday. Pohamba who worked with Gurirab during his early days when he served as Swapo’s mission at the United Nations, visited the grieving family members at the late’s house in Windhoek’s Luxury Hill on Monday. Pohamba was accompanied by Founding Father of the Nation Sam Nujoma among Cabinet ministers and many mourners. Nujoma said Namibia has lost a genuine revolutionary. He comforted the American-born widow, Joan Guriras saying Namibia will forever remain her home. Nujoma noted Gurirab was in charge of Namibia’s diplomacy based in New York. “His wife used to be our mother, our sister. When we did not have money, when we went to New York, we slept in her house. She bought food. She cooked for us and made sure everyone of us had something to eat and had a place to sleep. So, I want to assure you comrade mama Guriras that you are in your home country. A country that you have supported when all the forces of imperialism called us terrorists, you called us brothers and sisters,” Nujoma assured her. Gurirab served as member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted Namibia’s constitution. After independence, he was one of the leading figures that helped to west the trajectory of Namibia’s foreign policy. “A huge tree has fallen. A stalwart of the Namibian revolution has gone to be with our forebearers and ancestors. Theo-Ben Gurirab is no longer with us. Although we mourn, we should at the same time celebrate the wonderful life that comrade Theo-Ben lived. From him, many of us, especially his comrades-in-arms during the liberation struggle learned immense lessons. We will forever be indebted to his intellect and clarity of thought,” Pohamba said. Equally, Pohamba said Gurirab’s diplomatic skills was tested and stretched following the Cassinga massacre of 1978. He added the late also proved himself tactful and skilful in putting out Swapo’s message to the international community following that heinous act. Pohamba further described Gurirab as a world citizen. “He did his best to serve humanity. I am proud to call him a brother. I am proud to call him a friend. I am proud to call him a comrade-in-arms and a fellow revolutionary,” he remarked. Narrating Gurirab’s work towards Namibia’s liberation struggle, Pohamba appealed to the current and future generations to write and record the history of heroes and heroines. He said their contributions to Namibia, to Africa and the world must be recorded. In this regard, he appealed that the name of Gurirab must not be left out.
2018-07-18 09:23:45 2 months ago