Botswana’s president Mokgweetsi Masisi is the first international leader to touch down in Namibia to personally convey his condolences to former first lady Monica Geingos and Namibians at large, further cementing the close bond between the two countries.
Geingob, Namibia’s third democratically-elected President, died in a Windhoek hospital on Sunday. He was 82.
Engaging with President Nangolo Mbumba at State House yesterday upon his arrival, Masisi said former president Hage Geingob would call him anytime of the day. To continue with the tradition, he said, Mbumba is welcome to do so anytime.
“He (Geingob) would call me anytime, even at 03h00, and we would talk about whatever needs to be talked about. And it doesn’t matter with protocol, they will do what they need to do – if you need me to be in Namibia, I will come. This is not an expression of submission; it is what we need to do as Africans,” stated Masisi.
Furthermore, he applauded Mbumba on the humility and his steadfast respect for the supreme law of Namibia, hence the need to come and express his solidarity and commitment to work with the new Head of State. Masisi lauded Namibia’s “almost textbook” transition.
“I wanted to come yesterday, and I thought I should give you space and time to organise and patch this big gap in the Namibian house. I am very proud of what you did. You are a true example of predictable succession planning,” stated the politician, who, like Geingob, is a teacher by profession.
He added: “I am very proud to share a border with such a country, and I am glad and fully embrace your commitment to continue to grow the strong and unbreakable bond of partnership between us. I am at a loss for words right now to speak about my brother. This is my first time coming to Namibia and he is not here. He was a man larger than life, truly warm, and he loved his country.”
President Mbumba said he appreciates the support of Botswana, as they have been consistent in doing so over the years in various aspects.
“Namibia and Botswana’s bond and brotherhood will not be interrupted. And we went through the process (transition of power) yesterday (Sunday), and I have obliged. The government will continue to function,” he added. Mbumba was delighted that neighbour Botswana is the first country to have a leader physically come to express their condolences.
Masisi also went to comfort former first lady Monica Geingos at the Geingob residence, further pledging unwavering support during this period and beyond.
“You will always be my sister. My wife is devastated, she couldn’t come. It’s really devastating. But please be strong, we will always be there to support you,” he consoled Geingos.