Mormon Church delegation meets with Namibian President Geingob

Historic visit to foster closer cooperation

News Release

A delegation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has met with the President of Namibia, His Excellency, Hage Geingob, who welcomed the group to his official residence in the capital Windhoek on March 7, 2018.

The historic visit marked the Church’s first ever contact with a head of state in Namibia in the Church’s 91-year history in the Southern African country, home to just over two million people.

President Geingob, who was inaugurated in March 2015, thanked The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its contribution in the strengthening of families, the development of young people and for teaching the principles of self-reliance and service.

He also extolled the contribution made by churches in general in the country’s struggle for independence, which it attained in 1990 from South Africa.

The purpose of the visit was threefold: Firstly, the Church’s delegation wanted to discuss strategic areas of mutual interest and to illustrate the contribution that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was making in Namibia.

Secondly, the delegation wanted to thank His Excellency, President Geingob, and his administration for creating a space that fosters freedom of religion and freedom to worship. Thirdly, the Church’s representatives sought to understand areas of potential cooperation and the President’s core priorities.

To that end, President Geingob, who was the first Prime Minister of Namibia between 1990 and 2002, said the critical issues facing his administration were poverty and corruption.

He also highlighted the need for an intervention that will target specifically young men, and bring them back to church, saying men and their sons were missing from churches.

 

Unemployment is one of the main contributing factors to the elevated levels of poverty in Namibia, where more than 40 percent of youth are estimated to be without a job. President Geingob was accompanied by his special advisor on youth affairs, Daisry Mathias and by presidential press secretary, Alfredo Hengari.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION

In the meeting, President Geingob also highlighted a concern that he said was being raised by some in his administration about the so-called ‘pop-up or prosperity’ churches – and yet he expressed no intention to put up any measures that will jeopardise freedom of religion, saying it was fundamental to Namibia’s democracy.

President Geingob and his advisors welcomed the first-hand opportunity to discuss the contribution of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Namibia. His Excellency indicated that he already knew about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but had not made the connection with the Mormon nickname.

President Geingob also expressed fond memories and appreciation for U.S. Senator Jeff Flake, who once served as a young missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He also spent some time in Namibia as an intern.

The Church’s delegation comprised of the following people: Namibia/Botswana Mission President and Sister Chadambuka; Ellis Mnyandu, Director of Public Affairs in the Africa Southeast Area; Sister Womba Makuwa – Nashiwaya, Namibia District Public Affairs Director; President Albugaste Ndjendja, counselor in the Namibia District Presidency; Windhoek Missionaries: Elder Tanner Jordan Flake and companion Elder Kobe Dibetso.

Both Elder Flake and Elder Dibetso shared with President Geingob the impact that missionary service has had in their lives, such as instilling in them the love of serving others and the appreciation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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