Mbumba thanks Namibians for orderly mourning period

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Mbumba thanks Namibians for orderly mourning period
Mbumba thanks Namibians for orderly mourning period

Africa-Press – Namibia. President Nangolo Mbumba has extended gratitude to the Namibian people and the international community following the State memorial and burial service for Namibia’s third president Hage Geingob over the past weekend.

Mbumba, in a statement released by the Presidency yesterday, said the nation went through difficult hours and weeks of grief following the passing of Geingob on 4 February 2024. On Sunday, the people of Namibia and friends from all over the world laid to rest at Heroes’ Acre the mortal remains of national hero, Geingob.

“Over the past three weeks, Namibians mourned together, cried together, and also celebrated the exceptional deeds of president Geingob. The conduct of Namibians was exemplary, and they were able to hold hands in honour of his legacy in the most befitting manner. I, therefore, wish to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you, fellow Namibians for your consoling messages, gestures of love and uplifting songs of endearment for Madame Monica Geingos, the children, the family and the many who were touched by the outstanding deeds of a cherished leader of the Namibian people.”

Mbumba also extended gratitude to Heads of State and Government, leaders and friends of Namibia across the world for their messages of condolences, solidarity and assistance, including their “precious” presence for the State memorial and burial.

“Your expressions of sympathy have been a source of solace while we navigated the difficult period of national mourning and burial. Through your kind gestures, the enduring bonds of friendship that unite us as members of the global community are showcased and they attest that Namibia is indeed a child of international solidarity,” he said.

On behalf of the people and government, Mbumba expressed his appreciation for the unwavering cooperation, kindness, generosity, tributes, material assistance, consolation and compassion provided to the nation by the international community during their most difficult hour.

Addressing his fellow Namibians from all walks of life, as well as the media and traditional leaders, including the men and women in uniform who performed brilliantly and diligently, Mbumba said: “The dignified and orderly manner in which you conducted yourselves during the past three weeks is the greatest honour bestowed on the memory of our dearly departed Commander-in-Chief, president Hage Geingob. It is a highlight of the strength of our national character”.

The President then urged the continued strengthening of the foundations of the Namibian house, “where unity binds us and is our purpose as we build a better and caring nation”.

“May the spirit of unity and solidarity continue to guide us as we embark on the journey forward,” he urged.

No security incident

Meanwhile, the Namibian police said Namibians have behaved well during the mourning and burial period.

“Since the 4th – 26th February 2024, in the wake of the death and burial of our beloved late president Hage Geingob, the internal security of our country remained calm, safe and stable,” said Kauna Shikwambi, spokesperson of the Namibian Police.

She said the country has not encountered any security threat, violence, life loss or anything untoward during that ceremonial procession, national memorial ceremonies and funeral of the late president.

“The Namibian people behaved and conducted themselves in the most orderly manner and this is commendable. The public’s cooperation and support during the time is really invaluable; we remained steadfast in maintaining the peace, security and stability of our country,” she further said.

Shikwambi maintained that the Namibian Police applied every measure to maintain law and order and protect the lives of the Namibian people and all visitors.

With regards to the reports of the deputy president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah’s vehicle where smoke was detected, Shikwambi said, “There was no security threat or anything untoward reported other than mechanical defects of the cooling systems which were overheating and thus causing smoke from the vehicles”.

She, therefore, urged the public to refrain from spreading unfounded stories and conspiracy theories in this regard.

“We are and continue to be at peace,” Shikwambi said.

McHenry Venaani, leader of the official opposition, said in the darkest moment of the republic, Namibians have shown the world what it means to be a democratic united country.

“We have conducted ourselves very well from the military services, state institutions, political institutions, religious institutions, and social institutions as a united country. The process was conducted with flying colours; the transaction was done with flying colours,” he said.

Venaani was among the pallbearers of Geingob’s casket as an honour alongside former agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb, Deputy Prime Minister John Mutorwa, former defence chief Martin Shalli, Geingob’s eldest son Mangaliso Fernandez Geingob and Swapo veteran Ben Amathila.

“This exercise was done very well, and our country won greatly. All institutions and processes were above the bar. As we have taken Geingob to the grave, the world has taken note of a civilisation that we strive to build. I said this for the current and future politicians who want to become frontline politicians that the political transition that I and president Geingob have conducted in this continues to be the order of the day.

“The lesson to carry is that people should have differences but when it comes to acts of patriotism, we should always rise above political pettiness and this transaction must maintain going forward. It takes bold leadership, it takes perseverance thinking that it is not just winning for a day but for a country winning in total,” said Venaani.

Transition of power

Asked his views on how the State handled the transition of power Venaani expressed his dissatisfaction stating that although the process was smooth and peaceful, the opposition parties were not consulted. “Unlike what president Geingob could have done I put this to President Mbumba that going forward consultation is key. Although the transition was done very fast, the opposition parties were supposed to be consulted on what is going on in the country, however, that did not happen. The opposition members represent 33% of the country’s population. It is not always about the number that is winning but it is all about consultative democracy that Geingob wanted to build and that’s where we didn’t feel well about the transition,” Venaani stressed.

Jan van Wyk, leader of the United People’s Movement and member of the National Assembly was also among the politicians who expressed their satisfaction with how Namibia’s relevant institutions handled the transition and death of the late president Geingob.

“I was quite impressed by the way things were done, starting with the swearing-in of President Nangolo Mbumba. Everything went smoothly. I am very satisfied with how the swearing-in ceremony was conducted and the respect the Namibian people showed towards the new President,” he said.

He further said “Both memorial ceremony and funeral were well organised and I must commend the different institutions starting with the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, the Office of Prime Minister, and all institutions involved for a job well done. The organisation was very good and the respect that was shown during the mourning period was very good. Is something we can be proud of as a nation giving our president a decent funeral and the way the opposition parties cooperate was also commendable”.

Political analyst Wade Henckert said Namibia’s management of Geingob’s death and transition underscored the resilience of its democratic structures.

“The peaceful and orderly transfer of power affirmed the country’s commitment to democratic principles and institutional integrity, which will also be part of the legacy the late President will leave behind,” he said.

Henckert said the nation’s reaction to president Geingob’s death showed a country in sadness, marked by massive displays of sympathy and national unity.

He said the flood of condolences from people from different socioeconomic backgrounds demonstrated how the public recognised the late president’s importance and the loss they experienced.

This display of national unity, Henckert said highlights a cogent response to a historic occurrence and has a positive impact on Namibia’s social fabric.

With regards to transition, he said procedurally and institutionally, Namibia’s handling of the transition exhibited a degree of efficiency in maintaining continuity and stability.

“Established mechanisms for managing transitions of power were activated promptly, facilitating a smooth transfer of presidential responsibilities,” he said.

Henckert further said Namibia has demonstrated adherence to constitutional protocols governing presidential succession, thereby upholding the rule of law amidst the transition. The seamless transfer of power underscored institutional stability and respect for established legal frameworks, which are embedded in the Namibian constitution, he said.

Rui Tyitende shared the same sentiments, asserting that president Geingob’s mantra of “processes, systems and institutions” was witnessed by the local, regional, and international community and I hope other countries can emulate the way Namibia handled our transition”.

“We should be proud as a country to have witnessed a smooth transition that other countries can only dream of. The entrenched constitutional order and our collective political culture and commitment towards principles democratic paved the way for this change in guard at a national level. There was no political uncertainty, violence, or the security cluster attempting to overthrow the government on account of the death of president Geingob. As a country, we should continue to cement his commitment to democracy and the unfettered freedom and rights that the media and his critics enjoyed,” Tyitende said.

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