Ex-Namibia leader scoops top award


Former Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba has been awarded the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

The award came with Sh500 million in prize money besides a US$ 200,000 annual pension.

The award recognises former African heads of state who have excelled in leadership, steering their countries to democracy, economic development and good governance.

Even though Mr Pohamba, who retired in March after serving for two terms, is little known in the world, he was able to capture the attention of the organising committee.

He was recognised for achieving national cohesion at a critical time in Namibia.

“President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and social and economic development impressed the committee.

His ability to command the confidence and the trust of his people is exemplary,” said the chairman of the independent prize committee Dr Salim Ahmed Salim.

The ceremony was held in the Ghanaian capital, Accra on Friday.

Mr Pohamba, who held various Cabinet portfolios since his country attained independence in 1990, said the award is not only for him, but for the people of Namibia as well.

“I accept it with a sense of great humility, on behalf of the Namibian people, who entrusted me, through democratic processes, to lead our country as president for two consecutive terms. Their commitment to uphold democracy and rule of law made the modest achievements during my tenure possible.”

Mo Ibrahim, the business magnate who founded the prize in 2007, said the many stories of positive contributions to leadership by African leaders need to be told.