On Passing of Hage Gottfried Geingob, Secretary-General Praises Namibia President’s Fight against Racism, Misogyny, Injustice

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the General Assembly tribute to the memory of Hage Gottfried Geingob, President of Namibia, in New York today:

Today, we come together to mourn the passing of Dr. Hage Gottfried Geingob, President of Namibia.

President Geingob was a man with a remarkable presence, and a remarkable ability to connect with everyone he met.  I want to extend my sincere condolences to his family, and to the Government and people of Namibia.  The United Nations stands with you in sorrow. 

It is no exaggeration to say that President Geingob dedicated his life to his country:  Many of us will never forget the image of him kissing the Namibian ground on his return, after years in exile. 

From his early years of activism during Namibia’s independence struggle and against the rank cruelty of apartheid; to his leading role creating the Namibian Constitution — which has equality and human rights at its heart; and, of course, his years of service first as Prime Minister and then as President.  Namibia shaped him.  And he shaped Namibia. 

He promoted gender equality, championed clean energy and was a strong ally of international solidarity embodied here in the United Nations. The tributes from his fellow African leaders hail him as an icon of liberation, and a powerful voice for Africa, and African unity. 

Democracy, self-determination, and human rights for all animated the life and work of President Geingob.  Today, these values are under attack.  Around the world, international law is being flouted.  Human rights are being trampled.  Authoritarianism is on the rise.  And inequality is rife. 

As we pay tribute to the memory of President Geingob, let us commit to honouring the values that he stood for.  By fighting racism, misogyny and injustice.  By standing up for human rights.  And by working to build a more equal world, in which no one is left behind.

At this difficult time, I offer my solidarity and warmest wishes to the people of Namibia and President Geingob’s family. 

I think particularly of his wife, Monica Geingos, an advocate for youth inclusion and leadership, who has been a strong presence here at the United Nations over the years; and of Namibia’s new President, Nangolo Mbumba, who now leads a grieving nation. 

The United Nations will continue its strong friendship with Namibia as we work to build a more equal world for all.  A world of dignity, and human rights.  And we will do so inspired by the memory of President Geingob, a man with a warm laugh, a sharp mind and a strong heart. 

For information media. Not an official record.