President Hage Geingob has labelled the ongoing protests by young people against sexual gender-based violence as a “great sign of hope” and faith in the current administration.
“Protests show that there is hope. If you are hopeless you sit and suffer, if you have hope, you make noise because you can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Geingob when speaking during a farewell courtesy call by outgoing British High Commissioner, Kate Airey, at State House yesterday. “That is a good sign, if you are quiet then I don’t know what you are planning. So rather make noise, demonstrate and get angry. Then I know you like your government, you have hope in it and therefore the future is guaranteed.”
Geingob went on to say that when diplomacy fails, people go to war. “Laws are laws that must be obeyed. Government’s actions talk louder. As the chairman of the Constituent Assembly, we were conscious of the terms used in drafting the Namibian Constitution. Recognizing the gender roles,” he said, adding that women have been fighting since the days of the struggle.
“Swapo is 50:50. My Cabinet – women are occupying strategic and important offices, including the deputy ministers. These are qualified people. Free people make noise. That is what we fought for. We are one,” said Geingob.
On her part, Airey lauded Geingob for championing democracy and freedom of expression as well as for the hospitality she received from him. “I have loved every minute of my time here. I couldn’t have had a happier experience than being here.
“What stands out for me is the space Namibia has, not that it sounds like a cliché but to me externally it’s translated to the space you get to your mind, the mental freedom you have in this country,” she told Geingob.
“You have the space to think, dream, and believe in Namibia. I loved being here, the people I’ve met, I loved the young people I met, and you can see the hope for the future that there is here. I have met very impressive administrators, leaders and impressive parts of government that are trying to do the right thing. It’s been a pleasure to serve in Namibia.”
Airey said she would be coming back to support local tourism, to travel and explore Namibia. “You charged me when I first met you, you were as you always are, challenging in that intellectual ring which I always love about my work in development assistance,” the outgoing high commissioner said.
She said she supports Geingob’s call on development assistance to Namibia, saying Namibia deserves more from countries such as the United Kingdom. “I’m pleased to be leaving having doubled the amount of assistance that we brought from the UK to Namibia, from 3-6 million pounds. Those aren’t handouts Your Excellency, we’ve developed some strong working relationships in ministries that are keen to your heart like trade, where we have shared objectives that joint prosperity will come from trade and growing trade, particularly women,” she said.
“It’s been a real pleasure to find points of mutual interest; this allows for the UK assistance to have an exponential effect and ensure sustained quality assistance to Namibia,” she said.