George Sanzila WINDHOEK - Speaker of the National Assembly, professor Peter Katjavivi has joined the growing chorus of tributes to one of Namibia’s diplomatic giant, Theo-Ben Gurirab who passed away in Windhoek on Saturday. He was 80. He described him as a revered diplomat who played a significant role in championing the Namibian cause during the difficult years of the liberation struggle. He noted Gurirab was the Namibian embodiment of democracy and diplomacy, virtues that garnered him recognition not only in his native country of Namibia but worldwide. “He was a giant of the Namibian liberation struggle and he served as a member of the Constituent Assembly from 1989 to 1990. Thereafter, he served as Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and Speaker of the National Assembly until he retired in 2015. He was an icon of democracy and diplomacy, skilled in negotiation and well known and highly respected across the world and at the United Nations,” said Katjavivi. Gurirab served as both president of the United Nations General Assembly from 1999 to 2000 and the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) from 2008 – 2011. Katjavivi recalled Gurirab’s tenure as Speaker of the National Assembly before he passed on the baton to him in 2015. “We remember him as a fair and impartial presiding officer. He was very resourceful on topics of international relations and passionate about debates on education and training, women and children’s rights, human rights, peace, democracy and national reconciliation. We must also remember that he contributed immensely to the drafting of the constitution,” reminisced Katjavivi. The late Gurirab is also credited for having initiated the Children’s Parliament in 2007, a platform that has allowed the youth to articulate themselves on matters of national importance. “In order to ensure the voices of our young people are heard, he initiated the Children’s Parliament in 2007. He established a platform to empower and inculcate a democratic culture within the youth so that they can partake in the national discourse at all levels,” Katjavivi noted. Gurirab who was born in 1938 in the small town of Usakos in western Namibia was an astute politician who served Namibia on many fronts including as head of Swapo mission at the United Nations, President of United Nations General Assembly and the Inter Parliamentary Union among many other roles. *George Sanzila works as Chief Information Officer in the Division: Research, Information, Publications and Editorial Services at the National Assembly.
2018-07-18 09:33:47 2 months ago