Geingob travels to Finland for Ahtisaari funeral

Niël Terblanché

President Hage Geingob of Namibia embarked on a solemn journey to Finland to attend the State Funeral of the former President of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, who passed away recently.

Ahtisaari’s relationship with Namibia dates back to his tenure as Ambassador of Finland to Tanzania. In 1975, he was appointed as a senator to the Council of the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN), a position that eventually led to his appointment as Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Namibia in 1978 by then-United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.

In 1989, the United Nations Secretary-General appointed Ahtisaari to lead the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia.

This assignment was crucial in facilitating Namibia’s transition to independence in 1990, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s history. President Geingob, who played pivotal roles as Director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia and later as SWAPO Director of Elections, worked closely with Ahtisaari during these crucial years.

Their collaboration extended to Ahtisaari’s role as the Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, which played a pivotal role in the drafting of Namibia’s Constitution.

Ahtisaari’s unwavering commitment to peace and diplomacy on the global stage was recognized when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his outstanding contributions to world peace and international public service.

His legacy endures as a symbol of friendship and support for Namibia’s struggle for freedom. Ahtisaari’s dedication and leadership were instrumental in Namibia’s path to independence. His pivotal role in Namibia’s history will be celebrated during the funeral service.

President Geingob, along with many world leaders and dignitaries, will pay his respects to the late Ahtisaari during the State Funeral.

The President is expected to return to Namibia on Sunday, November 12, 2023, after honouring the memory of a dear friend and ally in the pursuit of freedom and peace.

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