Mtambanengwe left inspiring legacy – LSN
Windhoek – Justice Simpson Mtambanengwe left an inspiring legacy, the president of the Law Society of Namibia, Ramon Maasdorp said on Monday during the memorial service to celebrate the life of the late judge.
Mtambanengwe died last Friday, barely a week after another top Zimbabwe jurist, Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku who died in South Africa and was buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare last Saturday after being declared a national hero.
At the memorial service at the Methodist Church in Windhoek, Namibia, Maasdorp paid tribute to Mtambanengwe who died last week in a private hospital here after battling high blood pressure and diabetes for some years.
The church was packed to the rafters and speaker after speaker spoke on the incorruptible honesty of the Zimbabwean-born Mtambanengwe.
Maasdorp said as a man, Mtambanengwe literally stood and walked tall and added that as a human being, his influence on those around him was huge. “As a jurist he was a giant. Judges must be courageous, they must be objective, they must be diligent, they must be just, they must have and show integrity always,” he said.
Chief Justice Peter Shivute remembered him as a great judge and a courageous lawyer, before extending his condolences to his family and the people of Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean Ambassador to Namibia, Rafina Chikava, said the two countries have lost a true freedom fighter who always believed in justice.
“He was a true soldier for both Zimbabwe and Namibia and the people of these two countries draw much from his humility and humbleness,” she said.
In a speech read on her behalf, his widow, Juliana, told the gathering what she would have done if she could have a last moment with her husband.
“If I had one last moment with my dear husband, I would use it to have one last cup of tea and apple tart,” she said.
Victor Mtambanengwe, the son of the late judge, said his father had a way of bringing out the best in people.
“He had a way of making you look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself what am I doing with myself and is this really what I ought to be doing.
“He had a way of making you reflect on things that you may often overlook and nor consider as important,” he said.
He said his father was a loving man, very approachable, very humble and very kind.
He said he never raised his voice even if he was angry at something.
“He was never angry for long and soon after he had reprimanded you on whatever you may have done, you would be talking about something else,” the son remembered.
“Dad was a caring and a loving person. All his sisters and brothers would often come to him for advice and guidance. He never turned away anyone and was always there to sort out conflict and awkward situations.” Mtambanengwe was born at the Old Umtali Mission in Eastern Rhodesia (today Mutare in Zimbabwe) on 9 December 1931. He attended school at Mutambara Mission and Goromonzi School, after which he worked as teacher for one year at Old Umtali Mission.
From 1979 on he worked as a lawyer in Zimbabwe until 1986 when he was appointed as high court judge. In 1994 he was appointed to the Namibian High Court. Mtambanengwe acted as chief justice of Namibia between 2003 and 2004. He served as an acting judge of appeal of the Supreme Court before his retirement.
Mtambanengwe, who was scheduled to be buried in Zimbabwe on Saturday, is survived by his wife and three sons. – Namibia Sun/Confidente.