Namibia has lost a giant: Ua-ndjarakana

19 May 2019 18:10pm
WINDHOEK, 19 MAY (NAMPA) – The Executive Director in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Mbeuta Ua-ndjarakana has described the late Iyambo as a calm, collected and respectful humble diplomat and politician.
Iyambo died at about 03h00 on Sunday at his house in Eros residential area, Windhoek at age 82, a day before his 83rd birthday.
Speaking to Nampa here on Sunday, Ua-ndjarakana said Namibia has lost quite a giant who also contributed to the plight for freedom when he led the SWAPO team in exile.
“As a leader he was forever pleasant to work with. Iyambo related to us ordinary people for a person with all his portfolios and education achievements,” said Ua-ndjarakana.
Ua-ndjarakana noted that his fond moments were while working as a Governor for Otjozondjupa Region in the 90s, when Iyambo was the Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing from 1996 to 2002.
“I had the rare opportunity to travel with him as part of his delegation to Germany for a week in 1995, that was the closest indelible memory with him,”
Uandjarakana said, adding that he will always remember Iyambo when he responded to the famous tale by former apartheid leader boasting that Namibia has tarred roads because of them.
Iyambo replied to them with these words ‘Roll up your tarred roads, we will build our own as we liberate our country’.
Iyambo was a Namibian politician stalwart and Swapo member who served as the first Vice President of Namibia from 2015 until his resignation in February 2018, due to health reasons.
Before serving as Vice President, Iyambo was a member of the Cabinet of Namibia since independence, and served as the Minister of Health and Social Services from 1990 to 1996.
He became the Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing from 1996 to 2002, then became Minister of Mines and Energy from 2002 to 2005.
Iyambo also served as the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry from 2005 to 2008, then Minister of Safety and Security from 2008 to 2010 and Minister of Veterans’ Affairs since 2010 to 2015.
He was Namibia's first black postmaster from 1962 to 1963 but fled into exile with SWAPO in 1964 and was among the earliest SWAPO members to go into exile and helped establish SWAPO's close relationship with Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
A media statement issued by the Presidency on Sunday said Iyambo served the liberation movement in different capacities, including as Swapo representative to the Nordic Countries from 1966-1971.
With a Master's Degree in political science from the University of Helsinki, Finland, Dr Iyambo, a medical doctor, also completed his degree in medicine at the same university, the statement read.
It added that in the 1980's, he served as Swapo Head of Military Medical Service and numerous capacities, including as a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1989 after which he became a cabinet minister in 1990.
Iyambo leaves behind his wife, four biological children and one adopted son.