Namibia mourns: President Hage Geingob passes away in hospital

Presidential and national assembly elections are scheduled in Namibia later this year.

  • Namibia’s President Hage Geingob at the 75th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its headquarters in Paris on November 12, 2021. (AP)

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob passed away in a Windhoek hospital early Sunday at the age of 82, according to a statement from the presidential office. Geingob, in his second term as president, had disclosed last month that he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

“It is with utmost sadness and regret that I inform you that our beloved Dr. Hage G. Geingob, the President of the Republic of Namibia has passed on today,” read the statement on X, signed by Acting President Nangolo Mbumba.

“At his side, was his dear wife Madame Monica Geingos, and his children.”

A biopsy conducted after a regular medical examination in January had detected “cancerous cells,” as announced by Geingob’s office. Initially elected as President in 2014, Geingob held the position of Namibia’s longest-serving Prime Minister and third President. In 2013, he underwent brain surgery, and in the previous year, he had an aortic operation in neighboring South Africa.

 Until his passing, Geingob had been undergoing treatment at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek.

“The Namibian nation has lost a distinguished servant of the people, a liberation struggle icon, the chief architect of our constitution, and the pillar of the Namibian house,” said Mbumba.

“At this moment of deepest sorrow, I appeal to the nation to remain calm and collected while the Government attends to all necessary state arrangements, preparations, and other protocols.”

He mentioned that the Cabinet would assemble promptly to facilitate the required state arrangements.

Who is Hage Geingob?

Born in a village in northern Namibia in 1941, Geingob became the first president of the southern African country outside the Ovambo ethnic group, constituting over half of the nation’s population.

His engagement in activism against South Africa’s apartheid regime, which then governed Namibia, started during his early education, leading to his exile.

He spent nearly thirty years in Botswana before moving to the United States in 1964. It is noteworthy that presidential and national assembly elections are scheduled in Namibia later this year.

A staunch supporter of Palestine

Namibia declared its support for South Africa’s legal action against “Israel” during a UN General Assembly session on January 10, 2024. This move reflects Namibia’s late President’s stance on condemning the actions of the Israeli government, aligning with South Africa in addressing these concerns on the international stage.

Namibia also rejected, on January 14, Germany’s support for the “genocidal intent of the racist” Israeli occupation entity against innocent civilians in Gaza. At the time, the Namibian Presidency concluded its statement by saying, “In that vein, President Geingob appeals to the German Government to reconsider its untimely decision to intervene as a third party in defense and support of the genocidal acts of Israel before the International Court of Justice.”

Read next: Namibia urges NAM unity to demand end to Israeli genocide in Gaza

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