‘Consummate diplomat and sharp negotiator’ retires

By Maria Kandjungu

AMBASSADOR Selma Ashipala-Musavyi who amongst others oversaw the first democratically elected president in DRC Congo, return of peace to Madagascar and the formation of a coalition government in Lesotho, has retired.

Ashipala-Musavyi was described by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as a “consummate diplomat and sharp negotiator”.

As one of the country’s oldest serving diplomats, Ashipala-Musavyi retired as Executive Director in the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO) after being with the ministry for three decades and served in the ED position for seven years.

As an ED, Namibia successfully chaired both SADC and the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation where she served as the chairperson on senior officials’ meetings and handled complicated regional integration issues with distinction. It was during Namibia’s Chairmanship of SADC that DRC witnessed the first handover of power to a democratically elected president in the history of the country. The Kingdom of Lesotho formed a coalition government, and stability returned to Madagascar.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said Ashipala-Musavyi acquired excellent skills in disarmament and international security and is currently a chairperson of United Nations High Level Advisory Board on Disarmament.

During her tenure as counsellor at the Permanent Mission to the UN, she was involved in negotiations on development, finance, gender, peace and security, and climate change, and was among the capable staff members when Namibia was a Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and earned great respect and admiration among her peers.

She brought many reforms including the crafting of the Namibia policy on international relations and cooperation, the implementation of posting policy, the reviews of the manual of operationalisation of the ministry, the protocol operational manual of the Dr. Theo-Ben Gurirab Lecture and many others.

Speaking to Confidente, Ashipala-Musavyi described her retirement as bittersweet as she now has to leave people behind that she once called family.

“That was a demanding office and I am filled with mixed fillings … but I am happy to give a chance for others to grow. My proudest moment from the last 30 years is seeing staff grow under my guidance. It has been really fulfilling,” she added.

She further noted that she will forever take pride in some of her initiatives such as the Theo-Ben Gurirab Lecture series and being able to develop the United Nations Security Council resolution on Women, Peace and Security, that celebrates women and recognises them beyond being victims of injustices.   

Ashipala-Musavyi was part of the team that set up MIRCO in the 1990s and continued to serve as deputy director then moved over to different diplomatic posts before being appointed ED in 2013.