Former Swapo secretary general and ex-Cabinet minister Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, who died suddenly on Wednesday evening, leaves behind an indelible footprint of service, President Hage Geingob has said.
Tjiriange, who was Namibia’s first justice minister, passed on at home. He was 77. “I have learned with profound sadness about the passing of a loyal and senior cadre of the Swapo party, comrade Ngarikutuke Tjiriange.
Our nation has lost a man who
leaves behind an indelible footprint of service,” Geingob said while officially announcing his death.
Tjiriange became minister of justice in 1990, serving in that position for 13 years. He also doubled up as attorney general from March 2000 to January 2001. He was nominated as secretary general of Swapo by then president Sam Nujoma at the party's August 2002 congress, and was elected into that portfolio. He also served as minister of veterans’ affairs, and thereafter as adviser to various ministers and to Vice President Nangolo Mbumba.
Speaker of the National Assembly Peter Katjavivi described him as a long-standing comrade and friend
with whom he closely worked over
many years during the liberation struggle and since independence.
“He was known for his firmness and for his utmost sense of dedication to the tasks assigned to him.
We were neighbours in the Old Location in 1962, and joined Swapo at around the same time,” he said. “I left the country that year to go into exile, and he left two years later. Our paths took us to study in Nigeria and the USSR, respectively, and I helped him to access a course in Switzerland after he finished his doctoral degree in Kiev,
as part of his legal training.
We worked together within the party structures.” Katjavivi said the late Tjiriange pioneered Swapo laws in the health and education centres in Zambia and Angola, and also contributed to the draft constitution
for an independent Namibia that was drawn up prior to their return.
Katjavivi said the last project Tjiriange oversaw was the Hosea Kutako Shrine in Aminuis, which was inaugurated by Geingob earlier this year.
“Comrade Tjiriange will be sorely missed. We extend sincere condolences
to his wife Juliana, children, grandchildren, relatives and friends. May his soul rest in eternal peace,” he said. Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa said the ruling party
and the country at large have lost a towering figure who contributed immensely to the legal fraternity of
both the party and the country.
“Tjiriange was a straightforward person, who would tell you when you are wrong, even if you didn’t want to accept it. He was the sort of person
who wouldn’t buy face with anyone. He was very honest and open-minded.
He had so many good qualities. May his soul rest in peace,” Shaningwa said.