Mbumba undertakes first bilateral visit since taking office

WINDHOEK: Namibian President Nangolo Mbumba on Monday travelled to Angola for his first bilateral visit since taking office on 04 February 2024, where he is expected to hold talks with his counterpart, João Lourenço, in Luanda.

Mbumba, who marked one month in office, said his visit was about upholding the custom in the region of new elected heads of state reporting to their counterparts.

Prior to his departure from Eros Airport, the president told the media that he was also going to thank President Lourenço for his solidarity throughout the period of mourning and the funeral of former President Hage Geingob.

‘In terms of tradition, if you’re the head of state and new in the office, you must report yourself to others. First, I am going to Angola; next time, I am going to another country. So there is nothing particularly special. It is only that you are duty-bound to perform these things to honour the SADC tradition and honour the friendship we have enjoyed so far with our neighbours,’ he said.

‘And for the
Angolans, to have their president here [for the funeral], sleeping two nights and being among the last to leave with the president of Botswana. We have to thank them in their own territories, not while they are here,’ Mbumba said of his one-day visit to Luanda.

He said Angola was among the countries that donated equipment for the funeral, including vehicles. ‘You’ve seen their planes in the air,’ said Mbumba, referring to the Angolan fighter pilots who participated in the flypast on 25 February 2024, the day of Geingob’s funeral at Heroes’ Acre.

Detailing the president’s bilateral visit to Angola, presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari told Nampa that Angola and Namibia are important bilateral partners.

He noted that the robust people-to-people interactions, strong trading, and peaceful shared borders are indicators of the long-standing ties between the two southern African countries.

‘And there are issues in the bilateral relationship that President Mbumba would like to take up with his counterpart, P
resident Lourenço, that include the question of grazing along the common borders,’ he said.

Hengari added that the matter was also discussed by former deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Angolan External Relations Minister Tete Antonio.

During their meeting at Helao Nafidi on 12 January 2024, the Angolan government agreed to allow Namibian farmers to graze in the neighbouring Angolan territory.

‘But I also need to emphasise that shortly before the passing of President Geingob, Namibia and Angola were discussing a date to hold a bi-national commission. Unfortunately, that has been overtaken by the events. So these are issues that President Mbumba would like to discuss with President Lourenço,’ Hengari said.

‘There are other issues in our bilateral relations with President Mbumba to learn from Angola as an old oil economy, with Namibia just discovering oil, so there are synergies and commonalities in our relations with Angola.’

President Mbumba is accompanied, among others, by the Minister of
International Relations and Cooperation, Peya Mushelenga, and Defence and Veteran Affairs Minister Frans Kapofi.

Source: The Namibia Press Agency