President Hage Geingob says the future comes with an inherent responsibility for the youth, which cannot be executed by individuals abusing alcohol and drugs.
“The youth are equally important. So, to us, we don’t look at the age or gender. If you perform, you will be considered, and we have proven that,” he stated.
“You cannot do anything without young people. Even during our fight for liberation, young men and women were there.
We are trying to talk about equality, but we have to learn. You cannot be an alcoholic and be a leader, smoking dagga [marijuana] and beating up women… African youth, the future is yours, but you must be responsible,” Geingob said last week during his technical stopover in the French Republic, while delivering a lecture at Sciences Po about Africa, climate change and global governance.
Sciences Po is a selective research university of international standing based on the values of openness and excellence.
Last week, Geingob ejected former deputy safety minister Daniel Kashikola from his post.
Talk was rife in the public domain that Kashikola’s purported abuse of alcohol or internal Swapo politics may have led to his downfall.
He, however, shrug off the alcoholic tag.
“I am not going to tolerate rumours from the public. I saw people circulating rumours on social media that I was relieved because I drink too much alcohol,” Kashikola said dismissively.
Geingob is currently in New York, USA with other Heads of State and governments to take part in the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, which kicked off today and is expected to end on 24 September 2023.
The president further highlighted that in Namibia, women are surpassing men in every aspect, thus fuelling tensions. “You go to church, they are the majority. You go to graduations, they are the majority. The men are then getting frustrated and start to kill or attack, and that is a thing we have to answer”.
Furthermore, to avoid tensions and unnecessary fights in Africa, Geingob said he believes in term limits.
Leaders should thus refrain from power hunger, and vacate offices in time.
Geingob buttressed that as head of state, “you can’t remain popular forever”, hence the need to ensure one diligently serves society and making sure they do not die in power
“There should be processes, systems and institutions in place. It shouldn’t be a one-person show - it should be collective leadership. Therefore, if you have transparency and accountability, trust that the formula will work,” Geingob said.
He continued that Namibia remains open for investment.
But, these investors must come on Namibia’s terms.
“Don’t underestimate us; that anybody can come and not recognise us. We fought for our freedom. We evaluate Chinese, you [French] and the Americans. We want to be friends with you, but not to come and re-colonise us. We’re not going to allow anybody,” he warned with a smile.
The crowd of students who had questions for him, applauded his firm stance.
The President emphasised Namibia’s long-held ambitions of mineral beneficiation and value-addition. This agenda now holds the potential to secure much-needed energy for Namibia’s sustainable economic and social development.
The country, he added, aims to position itself to offer clean, affordable energy to the world economy through the production of green hydrogen.
Geingob remained steadfast in his belief that integrating countries into global blocs such as BRICS and the G20 will not produce results, unless countries have a role in those institutions, as opposed to merely being passive recipients of predetermined decisions.
“People are happy with the African Union joining the G20. But how will individual countries benefit if the AU has about 50 members? How are they going to represent me as Namibia? I’m not that excited about it.
“[The] same way I said about the BRICS in South Africa, yes, you get new members, but I asked will this not be the same as the United Nations Security Council, where the founding members have power and are excluding us as Africans?” Geingob wanted to know.
In August, he bemoaned the historical dominance of the Bretton Woods financial institutions, whose modus operandi he said is built on loan conditionalities and political prescriptions which have, at times, bordered on disregard for national sovereignty.
This, Geingob said, has increased an appetite among many nations for a counterweight such as BRICS.
He was one of the invited leaders from nine African countries to partake in the BRICS-Africa Outreach and the BRICS Plus Dialogues in his capacity as the outgoing chairperson of the SADC Organ Troika.
Some 50 heads of state and governments were in attendance.
Caption: Leadership… President Hage Geingob
Photo: Namibian Presidency