A man of remarkable presence and ability to connect- Guterres

Martin Endjala

United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, during the General Assembly 55th plenary meeting of the 78th session in New York, on Wednesday, paid tribute to the late Namibian President Hage Geingob.

“President Geingob was a man with a remarkable presence, and a remarkable ability to connect with everyone he met. I want to extend my sincere condolences to his family, and the government and people of Namibia. The United Nations stands with you in sorrow,” Guterres said.

He stated that it is no exaggeration to say that Geingob dedicated his life to his country. As he recalled the image of him kissing the Namibian ground on his return, after years in exile.

He said from his early years of activism during Namibia’s independence struggle and against the rank cruelty of apartheid, to his leading role in creating the Namibian constitution which has equality and human rights at its heart, and his years of service as the country’s first Prime Minister and then as President.

Guterres explained that Namibia shaped him and he shaped Namibia, by promoting gender equality, championing clean energy, and was a strong ally of international solidarity embodied in the United Nations.

He noted that the tributes from his fellow African leaders hail him as an icon of liberation, and a powerful voice for Africa, and African unity while lamenting that democracy, self-determination, and human rights for all, animated the life and work of Geingob.

Adding that these values are under attack around the world today, and international law is being flouted. Human rights are being trampled, authoritarianism is on the rise and inequality is rife.

Lamenting that as they pay tribute to the memory of Geingob, he called for a commitment by honouring the values that Geingob stood for.

By fighting racism, misogyny, and injustice. By standing up for human rights, and by working to build a more equal world, in which no one is left behind.

At this difficult time, he said, he offers his solidarity and warmest wishes to the people of Namibia and Geingob’s family.

“I think particularly of his wife, the former First Lady Monica Geingos, an advocate for youth inclusion and leadership, who has been a strong presence here at the United Nations over the years, and of Namibia’s new President, Nangolo Mbumba, who now leads a grieving nation,” the SG said

He reaffirmed that the United Nations will continue its strong friendship with Namibia as they work to build a more equal world for all.

A world of dignity, and human rights, and they will do so inspired by the memory of Geingob, a man with a warm laugh, a sharp mind, and a strong heart.

He is further described as a beacon of leadership on the African continent.

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