Mbumba vows to uphold Geingob’s legacy amidst power transition debate

Hertta-Maria Amutenja

In the aftermath of President Hage Geingob’s passing, Namibia is navigating a transition marked by a solemn commitment to preserving the legacy of the departed leader.

President Nangolo Mbumba, the recently sworn-in successor of Geingob, has unequivocally pledged to uphold his term, emphasizing the need for continuity and respect.

“I am going to appoint people because a vacancy has occurred. Until the term comes to an end, it will still be Geingob’s term,” affirmed Mbumba, underscoring his dedication to honouring the existing structures and maintaining the trajectory set by his predecessor.

As discussions arise about potential appointments and advisors, Mbumba remains steadfast in his approach.

“This is not a term or office I have won in an election. And we must respect that,” he stated, dispelling any notions of a shift in focus and highlighting the gravity of the responsibility at hand.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, echoed this sentiment, acknowledging Geingob’s contributions to Namibia’s journey towards independence.

“He was one of the key actors who contributed immensely to strengthening an independent Namibia,” said Katjavivi, emphasising the importance of preserving the foundations laid by the late president.

Katjavivi further added, “The transition has been well handled despite the tragic and painful loss to many of us, and we are still processing that experience.”

Despite the challenges faced during Geingob’s final days, Mbumba expressed a commitment to a well-handled transition.

The sombre task of making the public announcement underscored the gravity of the situation, but it was met with a resolve to navigate this period with dignity.

“It was very difficult for me to make the announcement, but the only way to do it was to make a public announcement. As we were working on the statement other people were calling me directly and had I answered them and told them what had happened they would be the ones that would have spread the news. Such an event cannot be announced by just anyone. It had to be announced by someone with the authority to do so on behalf of everybody else. We need to start respecting the structures of the government,” Mbumba said.

In addition to his commitment, Mbumba fondly recalled his interactions with Geingob, stating that Geingob was always a leader.

“We met in New York in 1967. He was always so kind to me because he thought he was dealing with a much younger person. I must say wherever you met Hage Geingob, he was always a leader.”

Mbumba also reflected on the unique aspect of their relationship, stating, “We never said goodbye to each other. I think these are the characteristics we have acquired in exile that one should expect anything to happen. It is a confidence to say, till we see one another again and not to say goodbye.

Goodbye means you are separating. It is a formula that we have adopted. Although we may face some other problems, we have confidence in whatever we are doing when he gives me the envelope.”

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