Tjiriange, Ngavirue remembered

Jason Tujoromajo

President Hage Geingob says in Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange the nations has lost a man with indelible footprints while hailing Dr Zed Ngavirue for his leadership in the Genocide negotiations with Germany.

“Our nation has lost a man who leaves behind an indelible footprint of service. On behalf of the people, the Namibian Government and the SWAPO Party, I extend condolences to his wife, the children and the family. May the soul of Comrade Tjiriange Rest in Peace,” says about Tjiriange. “Prior to his passing, Ambassador Zed Ngavirue carried out as Special Envoy on Genocide, one of the most difficult assignments of the past 31 years. He performed in this mission with utmost diligence and our country owes him a debt of gratitude for his years of outstanding service in different capacities,” he remembers.

The President announced both deaths, of Dr Tjiriange, the Government’s Special Advisor on Heritage and former cabinet member, and Ambassador Ngavirue, until his passing on Namibia’s Special Envoy on Genocide. Both are believed to have experienced short illnesses with COVID-19. Dr Tjiriange passed away the evening of 23 June, while Ambassador Ngavirue passed away this morning of 24 June.

Tjiriange was born on July 12, 1943, and passed on at the age of 77. He was a Namibian politician, a member of the National Assembly and former Secretary General of the ruling SWAPO Party. He also served Cabinet from 1990 to 2010, first as Minister of Justice for 13 years, then Minister without portfolio, and then as Minister of Veteran Affairs.

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi, also expressed his condolences for the two stating that Ngavirue “has been a mentor and an inspiration” to him, and Tjiriange, “a long-standing comrade and friend” with whom he worked closely for many years during the liberation struggle and since Independence. “We were neighbours in the Old Location in 1962, and we joined SWAPO at around the same time. I left the country that year to go into exile, and he left two years later. Our paths took us to study in Nigeria and the USSR respectively, and I helped him to access a course in Switzerland after he finished his doctoral degree in Kiev, as part of his legal training. We worked together within the party structures. I was SWAPO Secretary for Legal and Economic Affairs and Comrade Tjiriange was my deputy,” Katjavivi recalls his long journey with Tjiriange.

“He was a highly respected leader, a dignified statesman and diplomat of immense capacity, skills and wisdom. He stood tall in all the assignments given to him to perform on behalf of our country,” he reminisces about Ngavirue. In 2003, Dr Ngavirue served on a number of boards, including the National Council for Higher Education. Sadly, his wife Bertha passed on in 2005.

In 2014 he was appointed as Namibia’s Special Envoy on Genocide for the negotiations with the Federal Republic of Germany, concerning the 1904-08 genocide and Namibia’s call for an apology and reparations from Germany. He pursued these negotiations from 2015 to 2021 and presented the draft agreement with Germany that is currently under discussion.

Ngavirue leaves behind his second wife, Marah, his daughter Advocate Notemba Tjipueja, Chairperson of the Namibia Electoral Commission, and her siblings Veripi Katjiuanjo, Dr Uapakuouje Pazvakavambwa, Mbatjiua Ngavirue, and Kauronga Ngavirue, and his grandchildren.

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