Chris Koney’s column: H.E. Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob – celebrating a pan-Africanist and liberation icon

His Excellency Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob

Africa has lost one of its illustrious sons, an anti-apartheid activist turned statesman who served as the President of the Southern African nation and one of Africa’s most stable democracies, the Republic of Namibia, prior to his demise. His Excellency Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob died on Sunday, February 4, 2024 at age 82 while receiving medical treatment for cancerous cells at a local hospital.

Dr. Geingob had been in charge of the thinly populated African country since 2015, when he revealed he had survived prostate cancer. The Republic of Namibia is a mining hotspot with vast deposits of diamonds, uranium and the electric car battery ingredient, lithium.

On Saturday, February 17, 2024, the Namibian High Commission in Accra, Ghana held a memorial service in honour of the late President, His Excellency Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob, at the Accra International Conference Centre.

The event was attended by segments of the Ghanaian public, former Ghanaian High Commissioners to Namibia, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Namibian citizens resident in Ghana, staff of the Namibian High Commission, traditional rulers, members of the Ghana-Namibia Friendship Association, captains of industries and representatives of the media.

In her statement, the High Commissioner of the Republic of Namibia to the Republic of Ghana, Her Excellency Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, eulogised the late President whom she described as a selfless leader and a father figure.

Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, High Commissioner of the Republic of Namibia to Ghana

“On the 4th of February, Namibia came to a standstill; for we lost a selfless leader and a father figure. SADC lost one of its own and mother Africa lost a pan-Africanist who was world-renowned for unflinchingly standing for international peace and security, economic and social justice for the global south. The world cried with us; for Namibia has lost a distinguished people’s servant, an icon of Namibia’s liberation struggle and a son of the African soil, Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia,” she stated.

High Commissioner Ashipala-Musavyi expressed her profound gratitude for the messages of condolences and sympathy from people across the world to the family of the late President, the Government and the people of Namibia. She also thanked the Government of the Republic of Ghana for assisting in organising the memorial service.

Describing the late President, the High Commissioner indicated that he was a statesman and global leader who was a symbol of unity and resilience. He firmly believed that exclusivity spells conflict and inclusivity spells harmony. Therefore, he shunned tribalism, ethnic and racial exclusion.

Mourners at the service in Accra

In addition, he walked the talk by always surrounding himself with an ethnic and racial inclusive team. In his heart, the different ethnic and racial groups of Namibia were mere bricks and mortars for building a solid Namibian House, where no one was left out.

“While he had an extensive and impressive network among his peers and friends, he was equally comfortable among the elderly, women, youth and children whose welfare and interests he continued to champion. In promoting the youth he advocated for the inclusion of the youth in leadership structures so that they can be represented and express their opinions on important subjects. Thanks to his exemplary leadership, today Namibia has the youngest Cabinet minister on the continent,” she added.

In her conclusion, she mentioned that “Namibians will remain indebted to the late Dr. Hage G. Geingob for the immense contribution he made to the country before and after independence. And the most appropriate way of expressing our thanks and appreciation for his personal sacrifices for Namibia, the best way to celebrate his well-lived life and keep his memory alive is for us to always remember and pass on to younger and future generations of our great continent what it took for us to move from slavery to decolonisation and the ongoing economic integration of our continent”.

The Government of Ghana was represented by Ambassador Ramses Josef Cleland, Chief Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana, who conveyed a message of condolence on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Ghana to the Government and people of Namibia.

Other notable personalities who read tributes and scriptures at the memorial service included H.E Charles Abani, The United Nations Resident Coordinator in Ghana; H. E. Anette Chao Garcia, Ambassador of Cuba to Ghana; H.E Kufa Edward Chinoza, Dean of SADC Ambassadors; H.E Jeannette Nyakeru Njuma, Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Ghana; Major General Samuel Odotei, Former Ghanaian High Commissioner to Namibia; Mr. Alex Nortey, the Vice President of the Namibia–Ghana Friendship Association; Togbe Afede XIV; and Mr. Tetteh Mamah of Republic Bank.

Prior to his election in November 2014 with an overwhelming margin, he held several high profiled positions, including chairing the Constituent Assembly which culminated in Namibia’s globally-acclaimed constitution, the first and longest serving Prime Minister of Namibia – from 1990 to 2002, and served as Prime Minister again from 2012 to 2015. Also, between 2008 and 2012, Dr. Geingob served as Minister of Trade and Industry and is credited for setting up Namibia’s government architecture from the ground.

>>>The writer is a thought leader in Marketing Communications and International Cooperation who strongly believes in adopting a strategic communication and tailor-made marketing solutions to achieving organisational effectiveness. Chris has made tremendous impact over the last fifteen (15) years within Africa’s corporate communications and creative arts sectors. He can be reached at [email protected] / +233 20 854 1480

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