WINDHOEK, 06 JUN – President Hage Geingob on Tuesday conferred the Order of the Most Ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis on former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for her country’s contribution to Namibia’s independence, freedom, peace and justice.
The event coincided with Geingob receiving the African Excellence Award on Gender 2017 on behalf of Namibia by the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) network.
Johnson Sirleaf became the 10th African president to receive the accolade, joining the likes of Angolan President João Lourenço, Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Rear Admiral Peter Hafeni Vilho, while explaining the award during the ceremony, described Johnson Sirleaf as “Africa’s iron lady”.
“Johnson Sirleaf dedicated her time to rebuilding her country,” said Vilho.
He further pointed to Johnson Sirleaf’s role in rebuilding Liberia after the country had been rocked by internal conflict for 15 years that left over 400 000 people dead and many others displaced.
Additionally, Liberia played a significant role in Namibia’s liberation struggle, he said.
“In 1960, the Liberian government, along with Ethiopia and on behalf of Africa took Namibia’s case of self-determination to the International Court of Justice,” he said, noting that Liberia also provided Namibians with diplomatic passports to help wage their struggle around the world.
“Namibia is forever grateful for your support,” he added.
Accepting the honour, Johnson Sirleaf thanked the people of Namibia for recognising her work in promoting peace and security.
She was, however, quick to note that the honour would not have been a reality, had it not been for the Liberian women who supported her.
“The credit for many of my achievements goes first to the women of Liberia, for their votes and the women of Africa for their support,” said Johnson Sirleaf.