Geingob emphasised the eradication of tribalism, racism and all forms of division – Hengari

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

Alfredo Hengari, who has served as Spokesperson to former President Hage Geingob, said as part of his deeply held wish for an inclusive Namibia, the late Head of State would always emphasise the eradication of tribalism, racism and all other forms of division in the country.
Hengari made these remarks yesterday during the memorial service of the former President at his private residence Casa Rosalia on the outskirts of Windhoek.

He said Geingob was a vertical, but also a horizontal leader, and many of them experienced the demanding and perfectionist side of President Geingob. Intolerance for explanations when the work is not done; Intolerance for sloppy work and Intolerance for blame-shifting, which to him demonstrated the absence of loyalty and “taking one” for the team.

“All of us received his legendary hairdryer treatment in his office or at the Round Table, a lieu he adored so much. We would spend hours on concepts and doctrines such as the Three Waves of African Leadership; Transparency plus Accountability Equals Trust and others. As part of his deeply held wish for an inclusive Namibia, President Geingob would emphasize the eradication of tribalism, racism and all other forms of division,” Hengri said.

Adding that for President Geingob, work was not just work or a heavy burden to carry – it was part of his raison d’etre in service of others. It is why President Geingob worked with so much intensity and expected those around him to do the same. A force of nature, President Geingob had high-pitched standards. He was proud to say that as a teacher he used to be strict in marking.

“True, working with him felt as if 90 percent of our performance did not count for much – we only had 10 percent in which we could get 10 out of 10 to deserve praise. When he had assigned you a task, since he was a fast-thinker you needed to be ready for the follow-up questions. However, when the work was executed properly, he was extremely generous in praise. That is the hallmark of a top leader, a great teacher and an affable mentor,” stated Hengari.

Further adding that he had interactions with President Geingob, throughout his four lives: First, as a teacher in Tsumeb, second, as a Swapo freedom fighter in exile, third, as Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly and Founding Prime Minister; and fourth as President of the Republic of Namibia.

“President Geingob was animated by the emancipation, the unity and the development of the Namibian and African people. When he said in his 2015 acceptance speech that we must eradicate poverty, he meant it. In fact, to deeply believe and to work hard as President Geingob did to ensure that no one should feel left out speaks to the kindness and generosity of his spirit and soul.

Many of us in the office served as his emissaries to assist this or that person in distress; we received calls from him about his concern for this or that person who was unwell or in hospital and that he needed to us visit them on his behalf,” Hengari said.

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