Female youth political leaders remember Geingob

WINDHOEK: Various young female political leaders have hailed the late President Hage Geingob as a progressive man who understood affirmative action in the context of women and intergenerational nation-building through youth empowerment.

Sharonice Busch, the Executive Chairperson of the National Youth Council of Namibia, in an interview with Nampa said that Geingob has demonstrated his commitment to uplifting women and youth, from the grassroots to the highest levels of governance.

‘This is evidenced by his appointment of young women and men into various capacities of leadership. President Geingob will be remembered, among many others things, for dramatically shifting the Overton’s Window, insofar as youth leadership and youth inclusion in governance is concerned. He was not afraid to stand behind young people. He was not afraid to let young people take the lead,’ Busch said.

Presidential Youth Advisor, Daisry Obal, who was appointed by Geingob at the age of 28, in remembering Geingob told Nampa that he was
fair in matters of dispute and he was brave in matters of conflict resolution.

‘Although I was consistently among the youngest members of his team around the table, President Geingob engaged and valued us as equals, affirming our individual competencies. He was a hard taskmaster, hardest worker in the room and so he led from the front, hands on and often burnt the midnight oil with his team to get the job done,’ Obal said.

According to her, Geingob cared about the overall wellbeing of his team.

‘Understanding the political nature of the office, he checked in on us often, and on many occasions I have witnessed him attempt to shield us from some of the more politically motivated offensives,’ she added.

She further added that it is through Geingob’s leadership that Namibia achieved a 47 per cent female representation in parliament, making it second in the continent, 37 percent female cabinet ministers in the executive and 85 per cent female deputy ministers.

‘As one of his speechwriters, I would often read
back his lengthy speeches to him, in final edit preparation. On one such occasion, during a SONA preparation and under immense pressure, my voice started to crack as we read through. He took notice, poured me a glass of water, stood up from his chair and served me a drink of water, with a gentle smile on his face, he refreshed me. I’ll never forget his kindness and care,’ Obal said.

The first female president of the Namibia National Students Organization (Nanso), Ester Simon, who at the age of 24 was appointed as the youngest advisor on Geingob’s Advisory Panel, the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy. She described his leadership style as inclusive and consultative.

‘His mentorship and guidance were invaluable and I am deeply grateful for the opportunities he afforded me to contribute to meaningful initiatives that have had a lasting impact on our nation,’ Simon told Nampa.

Geingob died on 04 February at a Windhoek hospital.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency