President Hifikepunye Pohamba on Saturday led hundreds of mourners - among them Cabinet ministers - who attended the burial of late Kavango Governor Maurus Nekaro.
Nekaro, 57, who received a State funeral at Tondoro village 100 km west of Rundu, died suddenly while on duty in the Ohangwena Region. He was described by many speakers at the funeral as a hardworking and humble man. Sadness tinged with disbelief formed the core of the President's address at the Roman Catholic Church in Tondoro.
"Only last week we were together in Rundu to open the fresh produce hub, and Nekaro showed me around town. We talked and we laughed. He even bid me farewell at the airport when I left for the north. His death really saddened me. When we were on the plane going back to Windhoek from Ongwediva last week, I was really paining, but I did not tell anyone," said an emotional Pohamba.
"His background compelled me to appoint him to lead this region," said Pohamba, adding that he "loved and liked" Nekaro who was very down to earth and mingled freely with all people in Kavango, irrespective of their economic or political status.
"Nekaro was one of the people I trusted, therefore I was shocked when the news about the death of my dear comrade was brought to my attention at Ondangwa Airport. There is so much he could have contributed to his family, community, region and indeed the nation as a whole," said the President.
People from all walks of life came to pay their last respects, including Deputy Prime Minister, Marco Hausiku, government ministers, deputy ministers, governors, members of parliament, traditional chiefs, and regional and local councillors.
Mourners injured in accident
Three vehicles, two of which are government vehicles carrying mourners to the burial service, were involved in an accident when the church service was about to begin. The accident occurred at Kambumbu in Kahenge Constituency.
It is suspected one of the drivers lost control of the vehicle he was driving and rammed into the vehicle in front, which in turn bumped the vehicle in front of it.
The police said nine people, who are between 27 and 63 years of age, sustained slight injuries.
NamPol's Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator, Deputy Commissioner Willie Bampton, confirmed the incident and said a case of reckless and negligent driving has been opened.
Businessman dies en-route to burial
Meanwhile, a well-known Rundu businessman, Joseph 'Disho' Thikusho died on his way to attend the burial at Tondoro.
Bampton said Thikusho died behind the steering wheel of his Toyota Fortuner after his vehicle left the road.
He died at Bunya village, some 50 kilometers west of Rundu.