A look at the two addresses delivered by Dr Hage Geingob at his inauguration in 2015 and in 2020 shows a consistency in purpose and an enduring love for the people of Namibia, of Africa and for all humanity. We reproduce excerpts of the two speeches here.
I will honour our social contract
H.E. President H.G. Geingob, March 21, 2020
Once again, "This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it."
Thanks be to God for this beautiful day. Thanks be to God for the liberty, unity, peace and stability that we enjoy every day in our country.
It was on this day, 30 years ago, that we witnessed the hoisting of the Namibian flag, symbolising the birth of a Sovereign nation.
It is on this day that we celebrate the gift of freedom and the opportunity we have to pursue our common aspirations.
Five years ago on this day, I took a solemn oath, conscious of the invaluable sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price for our independence.
Today, I took this solemn oath, cognisant of the urgent need to improve the livelihoods of our People.
In so doing, I recommit with all determination, to lead and to serve the people of Namibia, to achieve the goal of a more inclusive, united and prosperous Namibian House.
Today our sister Republic, South Africa, is also commemorating the Sharpeville Massacre, which marked a painful moment in the history of our struggle against Apartheid.
When we were drafting our Constitution, we had to choose a date on which to commemorate our independence. We consciously selected 21 March, the day of the Sharpeville Massacre, symbolising the unity of our struggle.
The independence of Namibia would not have been attained without the support and solidarity of the Frontline States and Nigeria, the Socialist and Scandinavian countries, and the rest of the international community, whose unwavering support paved the way to our independence.
As we honour our brave Sons and Daughters, who paid the ultimate price and whose blood waters our freedom, we also salute the selfless People of Angola and Cuba, whose children perished on the battle field.
May their brave souls rest in eternal peace.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 is presenting humanity with one of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century. In the face of this pandemic, we are even more appreciative of our regional and international friends.
You continue to be valuable partners in our common pursuit of development objectives. We are confident that humanity will prevail against this monumental challenge.
Irrespective of where you find yourself today across the length and breadth of our Republic, this day, 21 March, marks an important milestone in the birth of our democracy and national identity.
As we reflect on the path traversed, we have covered significant ground together. We have matured in our Constitutional Democracy; we are stronger, more resilient and determined to prevail in this second phase of our struggle for economic emancipation. Indeed, we have come of age.
Namibia today and Namibia at independence are miles apart.
Today, as we commemorate the milestone of our Pearl Jubilee, we do so with a sense of humility and introspection. We look up toward the horizon with hope and expectation. We look back with pride, at three decades of peace, unity and stability.
We have to continue our journey of social cohesion, through the policy of National Reconciliation.
We have to continue our journey of Representative Government buttressed by a sound governance architecture, which upholds the principles of accountability and transparency.
We have to continue to build on our gains in the fight for social progression, to uplift more Namibians out of poverty and inequality.
We have to continue with determination to consolidate a robust macro-economic environment where the fundamentals for growth and development are in place.
Despite our achievements, we remain acutely aware of the social deficits that persist and continue to deny our people their right to dignity.
We have faced uncommon hardships over the past five years. Our experiences have made the enormity of the task before us more vivid.
Any society that is structurally unequal - can never last. Although the odds appear to be stacked against us, we will summon the courage and ingenuity to continue the work we have commenced, with a sense of unity and common purpose.
Through democratic elections, you have once again placed your confidence in the SWAPO Party and I, to deliver on our national development objectives. We have entered into a social contract with you and this is the contract we will honour.
Our success depends on your active participation as citizens. You, have a responsibility to contribute towards the construct of a united, inclusive and prosperous House.
In the midst of challenging economic conditions, exacerbated by COVID-19, we will present an Economic Recovery Plan to mitigate anticipated negative impacts on our economy.
The single-minded objective is to stimulate quality economic growth and generate more jobs. We will do whatever it takes to safeguard our economic sovereignty and human dignity.
We shall never waver. Together, we shall overcome.
As I assume my second and last term of Office, I call on the nation to perpetuate the narrative of One Namibia, One Nation. Let us own this narrative for it defines our identity and speaks to the spirit of our struggle for independence.
Those whose blood waters our freedom have entrusted us with this country. Their sacrifice has ensured that as a free people, we can pursue our aspirations.
There can be no other home for us but Namibia. We might be from different regions, different races, different ethnic groups, but we are all Namibians. Together, we have upheld our Unity, Liberty and Justice.
Together, we can fulfill the promise that tomorrow holds.
No matter how daunting our challenges, no matter how difficult our path to prosperity, I intend to honour our social contract.
ONE NAMIBIA, ONE NATION ONE AFRICA, ONE CONTINENT
ONE WORLD, ONE GLOBAL VILLAGE LONG LIVE THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA.
Building a responsive Government
H.E. President H.G. Geingob, March 21, 2015
“This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
This day would not have come about without the committed leadership legacy left by those before me. Permit me to start with my mentor, Founding Father of the Nation, Comrade Sam Shafiishuuna Nujoma.
He is an icon of Namibia’s struggle for Independence and a man who brought peace to a nation that was tired of war.
This foundation was solidified by former President Hifikepunye Pohamba who from our first meeting in 1962 until today when his term ends, has walked a path destined for leadership. It came as no surprise to Namibians that he is this year’s winner of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership, as the prize was confirmation of what we in Namibia already knew that our President was deserving of local and international accolade.
I thank the people of Namibia for having given me a clear mandate so that today, I can stand in front of the world to take this oath. I take this oath on behalf of all Namibians and promise to serve all Namibians without exception.
No Namibian must feel left out.
I have of often said that Namibia is a Child of International Solidarity, friend to all and enemy to none.
It would take me all day to describe the role either you or the country you represent has played in the past and present.
After Namibia’s independence was secured, we needed to develop a new narrative for an independent country that had been fractured by apartheid. We had to overcome the hatred of the past – hatred between blacks and whites, and between different linguistic and ethnic groups.
We focused on reconciling Namibia to ensure peace. We succeeded in building a reconciled society.
Namibia’s new narrative, of course, goes beyond reconciliation.
With independence came expectations, expectations about education, about health services, about land, about safety, about justice, about freedom of movement, and about life and liberty. Many of these expectations were met right away, while others must, by their nature, remain work in progress.
The nature of expectations is that the more they are met, the higher the level that is demanded. And rightly so.
The overwhelming mandate given to the SWAPO Party and its Presidential Candidate is a clear indication of the confidence my fellow citizens have in SWAPO and in me. But it is also an indication of their high expectations.
After 25 years they want food, clothing and shelter. They want jobs, better housing and good nutrition. They want a leader who will bring prosperity to the nation and they want that leader to act quickly.
It will be a daunting task to meet these expectations and our challenges will therefore be great, but I have full confidence that working together as one people, we will rise to those expectations.
The main priority for the next administration will be addressing the socio economic gaps that exist in our society. We have been successful in establishing a robust governance framework and implementing sound macroeconomic policies.
The prerequisites for a prosperous nation include good constitutions, peace and democracy. We are however aware that people don’t eat constitutions, peace or democracy. People eat decent food, live under decent shelter and enjoy decent employment.
Therefore, our first priority will be to declare all-out war on poverty and concomitant inequality. Our focal point will be to address inequality, poverty and hunger and that will involve looking at a range of policies and interventionist strategies to tackle this issue.
The goal is to improve alignment of existing Ministries to Government goals and objectives such as: poverty eradication and reduction of inequalities and disparities; sustainable economic growth and economic diversification; job creation; and improved service delivery.
We will work towards improving the rate of implementation and in turn catapult the economy into a new period of faster growth, improved job creation and improved service delivery.
Our aim is to have a Government structure that is responsive to national goals and objectives and that will promote effectiveness and efficiency across all Government structures.
Our vision is clear. We plan to expand and spread the opportunities for growth and prosperity to be enjoyed by all Namibians in all parts of the country, with a specific focus on the disadvantaged sections of our population.
We will do so by pursuing policies and strategies to safeguard macroeconomic stability, promote economic diversification and transformation of the Namibian economy to be more inclusive and resilient to internal and external shocks.
As we go forward, we will seek to be transactional in maintaining and strengthening the governance architecture, but we will also be transformational as we prepare the citizens for the new economy that requires the development of new parameters in education, innovation, and enterprise.
All of us must play our part in the success of this beautiful house we call Namibia. We need to renew it from time to time by undergoing renovations and extensions.
I, therefore, invite the youth of this country to bring their ingenuity, innovation and idealism to contribute to building a solid Namibian house.
Allow me to quote from the AU anthem which states: “Let us all unite and celebrate together, the victories won for our liberation, let us dedicate ourselves to rise together, to defend our liberty and unity.”
Let us stand together in building this new Namibian house in which no Namibian will feel left out. Forward ever, backward never.
LONG LIVE NAMIBIA OUR COUNTRY, LONG LIVE NAMIBIA, OUR MOTHERLAND.
Namibia’s Presidential inauguration ceremony coincides with its Independence Day Celebrations