By Musa Zimunya
WINDHOEK, JULY 16 – Honourable Theo-Ben Gurirab was an icon of democracy and diplomacy, skilled in negotiating with supporters and opponents, well-known and highly respected across the world and in the United Nations (UN) family.
These were some of the words that Hon. Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi, Member of Parliament (MP), and Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Namibia, used to describe the late icon Dr. Gurirab.
“On behalf of the National Assembly, my family and on my own behalf, we hereby express our great sadness and a deep sense of loss, on the passing of Hon. Dr TheoBen Gurirab, one of the founding members of the Namibian Nation.”
Hon. Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab, said Katjavivi, was a giant of the Namibian liberation struggle, while exuding leadership in both the society and the government since independence.
“The National Assembly will remember Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab as a thinker, dedicated democrat, a freedom fighter and diplomat-per-excellency. We will also remember him as a fair and impartial presiding officer and a national hero who led efforts to position the Namibian case on the international map during the difficult yeas of our liberation struggle,” said Katjavivi.
He added that Dr Gurirab had contributed immensely to the drafting of Namibian Constitution and crafting of new laws for independent Namibia. In addition, Katjavivi noted that during his time in the House, Dr Gurirab had proved to be wealth of information on topics of international relations, while displaying passion about debates on education and training, women and children’s rights, human rights, peace, democracy and national reconciliation.
Dr Gurirab was determined to give young people an entry point to national discourse and establish a platform for their voices to be heard.
“Upon assuming the Speakership of the House, and in order to ensure that the voices of our young people, tomorrow’s leaders, are heard, he initiated the Children’s Parliament in 2007. In this way, Dr Gurirab established a platform to empower and inculcate a democratic culture within the youth and young people so that they can partake in the national discourse at all levels.
“As we celebrate the life of Hon. Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, may we find solace in the fact that has completed his dignified life journey with dedication to serve Namibia and the rest of the global village,” said the Speaker.
Dr Gurirab served as a Member of the Constituent Assembly from 1989-90. Thereafter he served as Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and Speaker of the National Assembly until he retired in 2015.
He served as President of the UN General Assembly from 1999 to 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted. He was also President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) from 2008-2011.
“We hereby extend our deeply felt sympathy and condolences to Mrs. Joan Guriras, their children, grandchildren and members of the immediate Gurirab family, on the untimely loss. We wish Mrs. Joan Guriras and the rest of the family, strength as they go through this difficult time. May the soul of Hon. Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab, rest in eternal peace,” concluded Katjavivi. – email@example.com