WINDHOEK – President Hage Geingob led tributes for late former Vice-President Nickey Iyambo, describing him as a leader with deep humane values, who leaves behind a rich legacy of loyal service to the Namibian people.
Iyambo, who died in the early hours of yesterday at his house in Eros, would have turned 83 today.
“I announce with profound sense of sadness the passing of my father, mentor, friend and comrade, Dr Nickey Iyambo, former Vice President of the Republic of Namibia. Our nation has indeed lost a freedom fighter and a leader with deep human values,” Geingob said in a media statement yesterday.
“Dr Nickey Iyambo, who passed away this morning, leaves behind a rich legacy of loyal service to the Namibian people,” read the statement
Iyambo, born on 20 May 1936 at Onayena in the Oshikoto Region, served as the first vice-president of Namibia from 2015 until his resignation in February 2018 due to ill health.
Before serving as VP, Iyambo was a member of the Cabinet of Namibia since independence, and served as the country’s first health minister - from 1990 to 1996.
As a member of the Constituent Assembly 1989, Iyambo became a Cabinet minister in 1990, serving in several portfolios, which also included regional and local government (1996-2002) and mines and energy (2002-2005).
Iyambo also served as Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry from 2005 to 2008, then Minister of Safety and Security from 2008 to 2010 and Minister of Veterans’ Affairs from 2010 to 2015.
The octogenarian joined the liberation struggle in 1960 and left for exile in 1964, serving the liberation movement Swapo in different capacities, including being its representative to the Nordic countries from 1966 to 1971.
A holder of a Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Helsinki, Finland, Iyambo also completed a degree in medicine at the same university.
In the 1980s, he served as Swapo’s head of military medical service and in numerous other capacities.
The Executive Director in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Mbeuta Ua-Ndjarakana, has described the late Iyambo as a calm, collected and respectful humble diplomat and politician.
Speaking to Nampa yesterday, Ua-Ndjarakana said Namibia has lost quite a giant who also contributed to the plight for freedom when he led the Swapo team in exile.
“As a leader, he was forever pleasant to work with. Iyambo related to us ordinary people for a person with all his portfolios and education achievements,” said Ua-Ndjarakana.
Ua-Ndjarakana noted that his fond moments were while working as a governor for Otjozondjupa Region in the 1990s, when Iyambo was the minister of regional and local government from 1996 to 2002.
“I had the rare opportunity to travel with him as part of his delegation to Germany for a week in 1995, that was the closest indelible memory with him,”
Ua-Ndjarakana said, adding that he will always remember Iyambo when he responded to the famous tale by former apartheid leader boasting that Namibia has tarred roads because of them.
Iyambo replied to them with these words: “Roll up your tarred roads, we will build our own as we liberate our country.”
- Additional reporting by Nampa
2019-05-20 09:13:17 3 months ago