Geingob, Diescho urged to reconcile
The call for the two to smoke the peace pipe was made in a press release by theologians Bishop Lukas Katenda and Pastor Laban Mwashekele, parliamentarian Paulus Mbangu, former Swapo Party Youth League secretary Elijah Ngurare, and academics Marius Kudumo and Ndumba Kamwanyah.
Other authors are Rinaani Musutua, Priscilla Matjila, Tjeripo Musutua and Severin Tame Haingura.
Diescho, a regular of the Geingob administration, endured an acrimonious exit from the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) in 2015, for which he was executive director.
He believes his dismissal from Nipam was a politically motivated move to punish him for his critical column, 'Diescho's Dictum', which was published in the state-owned New Era newspaper at the time.
When he left Namibia in 2019, he said he was in Europe “to join the long queue of African professionals who are pushed out of their countries of birth by hostile and anti-intellectual” governments.
Geingob, during his state of the nation address in April this year, said Diescho failed as Nipam head.
In retaliation, Diescho branded Geingob as a liar who disrespected himself by lowering his office to pick a fight with a man he has already destroyed.
In 2008, Geingob, while addressing a Swapo rally at Outapi, called Diescho a “political prostitute” after the academic had described him and then speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, as "opportunists".
In a press statement on Tuesday, the group said the squabbles between Geingob and Diescho were of grave concern.
“We are deeply concerned about attacks and humiliations by public office-bearers, personalities and citizens on each other, as the public attacks and humiliation convey unintended social teachings and have implications on moral values of especially children and ordinary citizens.”
They called on both Diescho and Geingob to make amends and treat each other with respect.
“We therefore, and with humility, appeal that we treat each other in Namibia with the highest level of mutual respect, and [urge that] the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family - as stated in the preamble of the constitution, and with no discrimination against any person on the grounds of sex, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or social or economic status – [be] upheld,” the release read.
I didn’t wrong Geingob
Diescho yesterday said he had made repeated attempts to make amends with Geingob, but there has been no reciprocity from the head of state.
“I have made several attempts to reach out to the president. In December 2016, I was urged by several people to write a statement to the president in that regard.
“I did and the letter was picked up by a government driver. I only received acknowledgement that the letter was with the president. I heard nothing after that,” he said.
Diescho added that he had also sought the intervention of several public figures, including vice-president Nangolo Mbumba, to make amends, but such efforts were futile.
“The president continued to vilify and humiliate me in public thereafter. I met with Mbumba to seek a way forward to no avail. Several attempts were made later,” he said.
The academic added that he would be willing to apologise if he was made aware of how he had wronged Geingob.
“I cannot apologise for not paying for water and lights as that has little to do with my job performance and nothing to do with the president instructing to have me dismissed,” he said, in reference to a water bill he was slapped with during his days at Nipam.
Presidential spokesperson Dr Alfredo Hengari said he would not comment because the press release was not signed to authenticate it.