Iyambo’s demise blow to Nam’s education
Windhoek – “An articulate, enthusiastic and hardworking leader” is how education stakeholders have described former education minister, Dr Abraham Iyambo, who died last Saturday.
Iyambo, who is admired for his contribution to the education sector, died while on official mission in London, United Kingdom.
He was 52.
In his tribute, the secretary general for Namibia National Teachers Union (NANTU), Basilius Haingura, said the country has lost a “leader of passion and patriotism” and NANTU will always remember him for his hardworking, dedication, loyalty and wisdom.
“It is very sad to hear that our honourable minister passed away.
“We have [lost] a very enthusiastic leader,” Haingura said in interview.
“He was an open-minded committed somebody who strived for a free and better education in the country.
“He was always keen to know what is happening at the grassroots.
That’s why, when he took over at the Ministry of Education, he decided to conduct regional meetings with education stakeholders in order to know what [was] really happening on the ground.”
Haingura said the gap left by the late education minister will be hard to fill and NANTU would always remember him for Namibian education.
“He took education as a key component for the development of this country and he took it very seriously,” said the NANTU leader.
President of the Teachers Union of Namibia (TUN), Mahongora Kavihuhua, echoed Haingura’s emotions, describing Iyambo’s demise as a big loss to the education sector.
“We lost a very programmatic and consultative hardworking man. He was not only a good speaker but a hard worker as well.
“He had an open-door policy. Every time we wanted to consult with him, he was always available,” he said.
Iyambo greatly contributed to education reform in Namibia, said Kavihuhua, pointing out his countrywide consultation meetings with teachers and learners and the introduction of free education as one of his lasting legacy.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba led the tributes for Iyambo, who was also former fisheries and marine resources minister, describing him as one of the brightest members of his Cabinet.
Announcing Iyambo’s death on Saturday evening, President Pohamba said, “There is no doubt that Namibia has lost one of the brightest, committed and hardworking senior ministers of our Republic.
“The huge gap that he has left behind will be difficult to fill.”
The Namibia Teachers Unions described the late Minister as a true hero of Namibian education.
Meanwhile, tributes poured in with politicians from both sides and Cabinet members also describing Iyambo’s death as a big blow to the country and the education sector.
“He devoted his energy and commitment to his work. He wanted to make a tangible change in terms of improving the quality of education, infrastructure and availability of resources at schools.
“His dream was to see Namibia succeed in education,” said the Minister of Information and Communication, Joel Kaapanda. Minister Kaapanda said Namibia and the ruling SWAPO Party lost a “strategist, a devoted nationalist, patriot and a freedom fighter”.
Education Deputy Minister, Dr David Namwandi, described the former colleague as a kind and friendly man who believed in solving problems in a professional manner.
“Namibia has lost a hero, a dedicated cadre and son of the soil.
“We will miss him.
“We will miss his courage, but we will continue with his legacy, which is to deliver, deliver and deliver,” Namwandi said.
In his condolence message, the leader of the opposition party, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Hidipo Hamutenya described the late Iyambo “as one of the promising rising stars whom the nation looked upon to pull the country out of its present quagmire of poor governance”.
Iyambo served as Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources before he was elevated to ministerial post by former President, Dr Sam Nujoma, in 1997.
In 2010, President Hifikepunye Pohamba transferred Iyambo from fisheries to education, a post he held until his death.
On party politics, Iyambo served as founding chairperson of the SWAPO Party Think Tank, which crafted policy documents that were reviewed at the party’s first National Policy Conference held in September last year.
Iyambo was an academic of note, and received numerous accolades while he was heading the fisheries ministry.
In 2009, he was named the Aquaculturist of the Year 2009 by the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa; he also received the Margarita Lizárraga Medal for 2008/2009, awarded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Kungsfenan Swedish Seafood Award.