President Hage Geingob has paid glowing tribute to the late Tanzanian president John Magufuli, describing him as a true servant of the people.
Magufuli died on Wednesday in a Dar es Salaam hospital at the age of 61.
Despite members of the opposition claiming Magufuli had contracted Covid-19, Tanzania's vice president Samia Suluhu Hassan announced Magufuli died from a heart condition.
"It is with utter shock and an immense sense of grief that I have learnt about the passing of our dear brother, His Excellency Dr John Pombe Magufuli, President of the United Republic of Tanzania. I, therefore, wish to convey our profound sympathies and condolences to the Her Excellency, the Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan of the United Republic of Tanzania, the government, the fraternal people of the United Republic of Tanzania and the family of our dear departed Son of Africa, Dr Magufuli," said Geingob.
"The people of Tanzania and Africa as a whole have lost a distinguished statesman and visionary [leader], who, during his life, exemplified the ethos of discipline and hard work. Namibia pays homage to this true servant of the people who tirelessly served with commitment and devotion as a Member of Parliament, Cabinet Minister and President. He leaves behind a rich legacy of service that will be carried on for generations to come. For that, we honour his memory."
Hassan said Magufuli was hospitalised on 6 March at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute. This comes after weeks of speculation on his whereabouts with the suspicion that he had been hospitalised for Covid-19.
Tanzania and Namibia share a strong bond dating back to Namibia's liberation struggle.
In 2019, Geingob hosted Magufuli at State House in Windhoek. Magufuli's visit also resulted in Tanzania opening an embassy in Windhoek. The embassy was officially opened last month.
"I recall with fondness when I had the pleasure of hosting our dear brother on his State Visit to Namibia in May 2019. At the state banquet in his honour, I commented on how the cordial atmosphere of solidarity, which punctuated the mood in the banquet hall, was a reaffirmation of the bonds of friendship between the people of Namibia and Tanzania. I shall forever cherish the memories of these moments I shared with President Magufuli. Although he has left us, he shall never be forgotten," added Geingob.
Magufuli has not been seen in public for 18 days - and rumours have spread that he was ill. The speculation had led to several arrests, as the government sought to contain the rumours.
Hassan, who is now set to serve as president until 2025, announced on national television on Wednesday that Magufuli was hospitalised on 6 March at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute.
Hassan was first elected as Magufuli's running mate in 2015 and was re-elected last year. - email@example.com