Prime ministers pay tribute to Iyambo

21 May 2019 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 21 MAY (NAMPA) – Current and former prime ministers Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Nahas Angula on Monday paid tribute to the late Swapo stalwart Nickey Iyambo, who died on Sunday on the eve of his 83rd birthday.
In an interview with Nampa, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila described Iyambo as a devoted public servant both before and after Namibia gained its independence and said growing up, she knew of Dr Nickey Iyambo.
“I used to hear about him, he used to be a medical doctor and we knew as children growing up in the Swapo settlements that when you have an illness that could not be treated at the clinic, you were referred to a larger medical centre where Dr Iyambo was a senior official,” the prime minister recalled.
She said they became more familiar with each other after independence, when Iyambo served as Minister of Health and Social Services, Minister of Local and Rural Development, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Vice President.
Iyambo was courteous, kind-hearted and soft-spoken, but also focused and determined when he set out to achieve a goal. He also had effective negotiation skills, she said.
“He leaves behind a legacy of hard work and commitment, humility and service to the people and these are characteristics that are not very common in people,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila added.
Angula shared similar sentiments and said the veteran freedom fighter was a pioneer who went into exile to mobilise the international community in the fight against the apartheid regime.
After Iyambo returned from Finland where he studied political science and medicine, he was in charge of the military hospital in Lubango, Angola. At independence he returned to Namibia to form part of founding President Sam Nujoma’s Cabinet team, Angula explained.
“We should celebrate his life as a veteran freedom fighter and as one of the formers of the Namibia State as we continue where he left off, especially the young people,” he said.
Angula said Iyambo leaves behind a legacy of hard work as well as understanding of needs, and this needs to be carried over to the next generation to develop Namibia further.