WINDHOEK – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was highly impressed by the manner in which Namibia carried out its transition process as well as the handover of power, saying it felt like “power is moving from brother to brother”.
Speaking during a farewell banquet hosted by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba and his wife Penehupifo at a local hotel on Friday night, Mugabe also praised the outgoing Namibian president for his role in promoting peace on the continent and urged him to continue availing his wisdom to his successor.
“We take pride in the democratic values that your country is exhibiting in the smooth handover of power. It is as if power is moving from brother to brother,” said Mugabe, who has ruled his country since 1980.
“There is evidence of how you successfully steered the socio-economic agenda of your country and it is my hope that people will not only cherish it but build on it,” Mugabe said, as he showered Pohamba with praise for his contribution in building Namibia as well as assisting other countries on the continent.
“You have played a critical role in maintaining and restoring peace in the region. Your participation in the regional energy sector in SADC as well as that of making land available at Walvis Bay for landlocked countries to build dry ports is a gesture that can only come from true brothers and sisters,” said the 91-year-old Mugabe.
Mugabe praised Pohamba for leaving behind a unified nation, adding that, “In this unity lies the foundation of further development.”
Pohamba’s successor, Dr Hage Geingob, waited for three months to be inaugurated as President of Namibia after being elected last year November already.
Geingob has on several occasions, jokingly of course, echoed the long wait for him to ascend to presidency and shed the president-elect title at times.
Although this seemed like a long wait for many, political commentators have on a number of times outlined that Namibia’s ability to have a serving president and a president-elect for three months shows the political maturity of the country and the value placed on democracy to promote and maintain the peace the country has enjoyed for the last 25 years.
Critics, however, argue that perhaps the peaceful transitions, which the country has seen over the years, were because all three presidents of the country hail from the ruling Swapo Party.
Some of the Presidents, who attended the independence festivities include Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, Mozambique’s Filipe Nyusi, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir Mayardit, Teodor Obiang Nguema Mbasogo from Equatorial Guinea, Hery Rajaonarimampianina from Madagascar, Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Gabon’s Ali Bongo Ondimba, Mali’s Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Swaziland’s King Mswati III and Botswana’s Ian Khama.
AU chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and other former African presidents were also in attendance.