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Some who honour the late Dr. Hage Geingob have described the fallen statesmen as a leader who was decisive and would quickly reprimand those who stepped out of line.

Dr. Geingob, on various occasions, publicly showed disdain for corruption, and as chair of the decision-making Cabinet, he held no punches back.

His 2004 doctoral thesis is titled "Promoting Democracy and Good Governance," which reflected the strong values that he stood for when he assumed the highest office in 2015.

His administration was not an easy ride due to circumstances that were at times beyond human capacity, but the late statesman ensured that the Executive sticks to the oath and the Cabinet handbook without undue influence.

Many have testified of the late Geingob's intolerance for corruption and misuse of state resources just to benefit a few.

It is, however, his demonstration of this intolerance when corruption would even protrude into Cabinet chambers and some ministers were implicated.

"When we declared an all-out war on corruption, I was warned that many corrupt people would react by attacking me through the press, looking for so-called corrupt things; that is why I declared my assets publically," he explained at the time. 

Nine months into his presidency, Dr. Geingob directed the then Works Minister, Alfeus !Naruseb, to cancel the awarding of the N$7 billion contract  to a Chinese-owned company for the upgrades at the Hosea Kutako International Airport.

The cancellation was due to irregularities detected during the tendering process, such as the price inflation from N$3 billion to N$7 billion, and the late President directed the process to start afresh and the government to consider the lowest bidder.

The government was then taken to the High Court by the Chinese firm Anhui, which appealed and won the case in the Supreme Court.

In 2019, the late President requested that ministers Obeth Kandjoze, Alfeus !Naruseb, and Sackey Shangala provide written explanations regarding accusations of corruption made against them.

The allegations ranged from N$36 million in legal fees paid to European lawyers tasked with dealing with the genocide of Nama and Ovaherero communities to the alleged handpicking of local company C-Sixty for the multi-million dollar diamond evaluation contract for Namdia.

Geingob then submitted the letters to the Anti-Corruption Commission for further investigation, which later cleared the trio.

He nonetheless reshuffled the trio from their portfolios.

Several ministers appointed by Dr. Geingob also resigned under his watch.

Former Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa left Geingob's cabinet in 2019. She resigned a day after she was found guilty on corruption charges.

Now-incarcerated Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala also resigned in the same year, following allegations of corruption and money laundering in the country's fishing industry.

Two years down the line, former Defence Minister Peter Vilho resigned after he met with President Geingob to explain allegations of illicit proceeds in an undeclared foreign bank account in his name.

The foreign bank accounts that were investigated involved alleged kickbacks linked to a N$1.8 billion arms tender for the government around 13 years ago.

Vilho denied the allegations and requested in his resignation letter that Dr. Geingob look into the financial records of Defence Ministry-owned August 26 Holdings.

These were just some of the instances where the late President transparently demonstrated how corruption is a danger to the development of any society and a social ill that needs to be nipped in the bud by leaders, even if this makes them unpopular.

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Author
Emil Xamro Seibeb