Windhoek-President Hage Geingob, during his address to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, said Namibia values empowerment of the youth and that the ‘Tanganyika Group’ – a generation of Swapo leaders to which he belongs – would leave “very soon”.
He told the world that Namibia is already among global leaders in terms of women representation in the legislature and government, and that there are deliberate efforts to inject more young blood into those structures.
Geingob cited, as an example, the fact that both Namibia’s prime minister and deputy prime minister are women. He expanded on this by citing the appointment of Sacky Shanghala as the country’s attorney-general as testimony to the government’s concerted efforts to empower the youth as the old guard phases out.
“In Namibia, we value the empowerment of the youth. Many of the so-called older guard had been groomed and well prepared in the structures of the ruling party and government before they were assigned higher responsibilities,” he said. “This practice continues with a number of deputy ministers that are youthful, while our attorney-general is one of the youngest on the continent.
“Very soon, the last crop of the ‘Tanganyika Group’, including myself, will make way for the new breed,” he said.
Geingob has served half of his five-year term as president, which ends in 2019. He has been nominated by several structures and wings of the ruling party Swapo to be elected party president at the congress slated for November this year.
The Swapo president automatically becomes the party’s presidential candidate in the 2019 national presidential election, although the incumbent may choose to decline such participation, in which case the party’s vice-president becomes the next in line for candidacy.
On gender equality, the president said it was inconceivable that any nation would achieve development without meaningful and equitable participation of women.
“In this regard a policy decision by the ruling party to introduce a 50/50 representation at all party levels has led to significant improvement in the representation of females, to 48 percent in Namibia’s National Assembly. This is the second highest level of representation on the continent and among the top five in the world,” he informed the world.
The Namibian president also echoed his perpetual call for reforms of the UN Security Council, which he said must have an African representation.
“The United Nations matters most because it is at the centre of the needs and desires of humanity. Therefore, it must be inclusive by including Africa at the highest decision-making level. By failing to do this, the UN stands at risk of losing its respectability. The only sure way to restore trust in the UN will be for the Security Council to become more inclusive.”
“The people of Namibia can testify to the importance of multilateralism. Namibia is a child of international solidarity, conceived by valiant patriots, delivered by Resolution 435 and midwifed by the United Nations,” he added.
He also urged the UN to help resolve the occupation of Palestinian land by Israel and help the people of Western Sahara, in north Africa, achieve self-determination.
“We call for the urgent implementation of all Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, with the aim of holding a free and fair referendum in Western Sahara.”
He also called for the full lifting of the economic and financial embargo against Cuba and its people by particularly the United States of America, saying the Caribbean island nation deserves the right to pursue peace and a decent life.