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‘Geingob death loss to Africa’ . . . he was a sturdy pillar of support: President

THE death of Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob, who consistently denounced the economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West, is a great loss for the African continent, particularly Zimbabweans, who have lost a sturdy pillar of support, President Mnangagwa has said.

The President is expected to attend the burial at the Namibian Heroes Acre this morning.

Addressing mourners during a memorial service held at the Independence Stadium here yesterday, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had lost a brother.

The President, who was accompanied by First Lady Dr Auxillia Mnangagwa, joined more than 18 sitting Heads of State and Government in paying their last respects to a brother, colleague and a giant of Pan-Africanism.

President Mnangagwa addresses mourners while standing next to a casket bearing the body of President Hage Geingob, which was draped with the Namibian national flag. — Pictures: Presidential photographer Joseph Nyadzayo

President Mnangagwa addresses mourners while standing next to a casket bearing the body of President Hage Geingob, which was draped with the Namibian national flag. — Pictures: Presidential photographer Joseph Nyadzayo

“He is among the few leaders who used to speak openly against sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Every speech he made at the United Nations, he appealed to those who imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to remove them unconditionally.

“So now, as Zimbabweans, we have lost a pillar of support; this giant, Cde Geingob. He was one of the solid supporters of Zimbabwe.”

President Mnangagwa said he knew President Geingob on a personal level, since the days of the liberation struggle, and worked with all SWAPO leaders.

He said President Geingob was fondly remembered in Zimbabwe as a Pan-Africanist, a liberation hero and visionary statesman who served his people with utmost distinction.

“I remember my dear brother, the late President Hage Geingob, was the director of SWAPO there in Zambia early in the 1960s to 1966,” he continued.

“We met as freedom fighters and we continued to collaborate and work together.

“So, to me, it was like an elder brother and younger brother relationship; so we worked together since the liberation days up to today.”

President Mnangagwa also called for unity in the Southern African Development Community and Africa as a whole.

“During the struggle, we worked together. We continuously worked together until we brought independence at different times.

“I personally worked with most SWAPO leaders, from the founding President Sam Nujoma, Hifikepunye Pohamba and others in Tanzania and Zambia.

“Now, we must continue to make sure that the younger generation upholds Pan-Africanism and the dignity of Africans.

“We should uphold the total independence of our people and together we should be able to support each other as a region and continent,” the President said.

President Geingob’s death has sparked the biggest outpouring of grief in Namibia’s young history as a democratic nation.

Yesterday, 18 sitting presidents, seven former presidents, four Prime Ministers and several high-level representatives attended the memorial service, with one speaker after another praising the late statesman.

Namibian President Nangolo Mbumba said the legacy of his predecessor extends beyond the country’s borders.

“Although he has physically departed from this world, his legacy extends beyond borders,” he said.

“We lost a man who touched many hearts, a caring leader who dedicated his life to serve and uplift others.

“He was a mentor who championed the establishment of a public service charter on a solid foundation.”

He challenged everyone to carry forward Dr Geingob’s dream of a “Namibian

House”, where all people feel a sense of belonging and continue striving for national prosperity.

He added that Dr Geingob departed while his dream of a Namibian House was incomplete.

“It is my hope and wish that we will take up the mantle of leadership to ensure the dream is not deferred indefinitely,” he said.

Namibian Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila described the death of Dr Hage Geingob as shocking.

“This is one of the darkest days in our nation’s history,” she said.

Dr Geingob died of cancer on February 4.

He was 82.

He is survived by his wife Madame Monica Geingos, eight children and three grandchildren.

Sunday Mail

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