Solemn memorial service in Ghana bids Namibian President Dr Geingob goodbye into eternity

A solemn memorial service to bid farewell and honour the life and legacy of Dr Hage Gottfried Geingob, the late Namibian President was held at the weekend.

The solemn service, hosted by the Namibia High Commission in Ghana at the Accra International Conference Centre, had dignitaries, including the Diplomatic Corps, politicians, clergy, chiefs, Namibian community in Ghana, friends of Namibia, gather en masse to reflect on the enduring legacy of ‘a champion of African unity and liberation’.

Interspersed with soothing dirges like ‘When peace like a river’ from the Envoy Choir, the service was filled with encouraging reminders of life’s storms, resonating with the late President’s steadfast faith and unwavering commitment to justice and equality, but especially to the liberation struggle of Namibia.

As the mournful notes echoed through the air, heads bowed in reverence – a poignant reminder of the profound impact President Geingob had on the lives of those he served.

Heartfelt tributes poured in from speaker
s, many of whom described Dr Geingob as ‘a Pan-Africanist’ and each offering their own reflections on the late President’s remarkable achievements and tireless efforts in promoting unity and solidarity among African Nations.

While the diplomats and officials from the public and private sector took turns to share their memories on Dr Geingob’s commitment to democracy and human rights, others alternated to write in a book of condolence in his honour.

Dr Hage G. Geingob died at the age of 82 on Sunday, February 4, 2024, at the Lady Pohamba Hospital in the capital Windhoek with his wife and his children at his side, the acting President Nangolo Mbumba, said in a statement.

Dr Geingob served as the third president of Namibia from 2015 until his death.

Born on August 3, 1941, in the district of Grootfontein, he began his schooling in Otavi in 1948 and attended the Augustineum College where his first political seeds were planted in 1958.

Dr Geingob was Namibia’s first Prime Minister from 1990 to 2002 and served
as Prime Minister again from 2012 to 2015.

Namibia High Commissioner to Ghana

Madam Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, flanked by staff of the High Commission, in a tribute said the late President had a remarkable presence with an outstanding ability to connect with everyone he encountered.

She said the late President was humble to a fault, with a big heart and always ready to share and always ready to give what he had.

The High Commissioner extolled him for his immense contributions to Namibia, dedicating his entire life to building the country and leaving a solid legacy.

According to her, the late President’s life was one filled with optimism, and that Namibia had lost a statesman and global leader who was a symbol of unity and resilience as he firmly believed that ‘Inclusivity spells harmony, exclusivity spells conflict’.

Madam Ashipala-Musavyi said Dr Geingob spoke against hate speech as he believed it was a catalyst for exclusivity and a direct threat to shared values of solidarity and compassion.

For him, t
he various ethnic and racial groups of Namibia are mere bricks and mortar for building a solid Namibian house.

She described him as a promoter of gender equality, advocate for youth development across Namibia and Africa, and said the late President promoted education, championed clean energy, promoted sustainable development, and sustained economic growth for the prosperity of Namibians.

Transformative force

Mr Ramses Joseph Cleland, Chief Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, who represented the Minister and the Government, recognized President Geingob’s impact on Namibian politics, as it transcended mere governance.

‘He was a transformative force whose vision reshaped the very fabric of Namibia’s democratic landscape,’ he said in an emotive tribute.

The Chief Director said from his earliest days as a freedom fighter, he selflessly dedicated himself to the cause of liberation, enduring hardship, and danger in the pursuit of a brighter future for his fellow Namibians.

His coura
ge in the face of adversity and his unwavering commitment to the principles of justice and equality inspired a generation and laid the foundation for the democratic Namibia we know today, he said.

Mr Cleland said he dedicated his life to the service of his country, making his journey from a young activist to the highest office in the land – a true embodiment of the resilience and determination of the Namibian people.

That nature, he said, had sustained the strong bond and fruitful relations that had existed between Ghana and Namibia since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990.

He assured that with the strong foundations left behind by President Geingob’s sacrifice and service to his country, Ghana would continue to honour his name by affirming solidarity with the Government and People of Namibia.

Ghana is committed to the values shared in strengthening the political, economic and trade, cultural and social cooperation between Ghana and Namibia, the Chief Director added.

‘…Let us hono
ur his memory by continuing the work he began, by rededicating ourselves to the principles he stood for – justice, equality, and solidarity. Let us all draw inspiration from his life as global citizens,’ Mr Cleland urged.

Champion of democracy

Mr Charles Abani, United Nations Resident Coordinator, described Dr Geingob as a man who has left an indelible footprint on the African continent characterized by his remarkable ability to connect with everyone he met.

‘This is a sad moment. A great loss to not just the people of Namibia, but to the people of Africa and the people of the world,’ he said.

The Late Dr Hage Geingob, Mr Abani said, was a champion of democracy, inclusive human development, a freedom fighter, and a selfless personality who prioritized the well-being, safety, and unity of Namibia and Africa.

He acknowledged the late President Geingob as a visionary leader who dedicated his life to the liberation and prosperity of his country in a life-long public life dedicated to service.

The UN Residen
t Coordinator said Dr Geingob was a strong advocate for peace, democracy, human rights, and regional integration – cardinal pillars of the work of the United Nations.

‘He was also a valued partner of the United Nations in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and addressing the many challenges facing the continent,’ he said.

Towering and visionary leader

Madam Samia Nkrumah, daughter of Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah, in an interview with the Ghana news Agency described Dr Geingob as a visionary who, like her father, projected the African agenda of unity, bilateral trade, and sustainable development.

‘He stands tall among many African leaders. He wasn’t only a free fighter and an activist, he helped write the constitution of the Republic of Namibia,’ she said.

Madam Nkrumah, also a former lawmaker said, ‘he was a pan-Africanist, but above all he had special qualities like humility, hard work and sacrifice which we need to be imbibe in our nation-building’.

Influenced by Dr Kwame Nkrumah,
she said Dr Geingob was charismatic and selfless leader, and that it behoved on Namibians and African leaders generally to honour his values and ensure that his legacy lives on.

Togbe Afede XIV, the Agbogbomefia of Asogli, in a tribute said the late President Geingob’s leadership was exemplary and lessons from that should be a consolation to all especially Namibians.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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