The presidential office released a statement confirming that Namibia’s leader, Hage Geingob, passed away on Sunday at the age of 82 in a hospital located in the capital city of Windhoek.
In 2014, Geingob became the first president to be elected in Namibia after serving as prime minister for an extended period of time. Namibia will have a presidential and national assembly election at the end of this year.
In January, Geingob, who was in his second term as president, disclosed that he was undergoing cancer treatment.
During a routine medical check-up in January, a biopsy showed the presence of “cancerous cells,” according to Geingob’s office.
“I am deeply saddened to inform you that our dear President of Namibia, Dr Hage G Geingob, has passed away today,” stated acting President Nangolo Mbumba on Sunday.
His beloved wife, Madame Monica Geingos, and his children stood by his side.
In 2013, Geingob had a surgical procedure on his brain, and in 2023 he underwent surgery on his aorta in South Africa.
He had been receiving medical care at Lady Pohamba hospital in Windhoek until his passing.
Mbumba expressed that the country of Namibia has suffered a great loss with the passing of a prominent public servant, a symbol of the liberation movement, the primary creator of our constitution, and the backbone of the Namibian community.
During this time of great sadness, I ask the nation to remain composed and patient while the Government handles all necessary procedures, preparations, and protocols.
He announced that the cabinet would meet promptly to take care of the required state preparations.
In 1941, Geingob was born in a village located in northern Namibia. He was the first president from a different ethnic group, as more than half of the country’s population belongs to the Ovambo group.
From his early education, he began to advocate against South Africa’s apartheid government, which also controlled Namibia at the time. This led to his eventual exile.
He lived in Botswana and the US for nearly 30 years, moving from Botswana to the US in 1964.
During his time in the United States, he actively supported Namibia’s freedom and served as a spokesperson for the country’s liberation movement, Swapo, which is now in power. He represented the party at the United Nations and in various countries throughout the Americas.
After Swapo emerged victorious in the 1990 elections, Geingob was selected as prime minister. He served in this role for 12 years before returning to it once again in 2012.
In 2014, Geingob was elected as president as his party easily won the vote once again, benefiting from their history in the freedom fight.
During breaks from his high-level positions, the calm but firm-spoken leader, who wore large glasses and had a patch of grey hair on his chin, served in different roles within the government and his political party.
The beginning of his presidency was marred by an economic downturn, significant joblessness, and accusations of corruption.
In 2019, records released by WikiLeaks indicated that government authorities accepted bribes from an Icelandic company in return for ongoing permission to use Namibia’s fishing areas.
The scandal known as the “fish rot” posed a threat to Geingob’s chances of being reelected for a second term. He also faced criticism for investing funds into an excessively large government and awarding contracts to international businesses instead of local ones.
In 2019, his portion of the votes significantly decreased from the peak of 87% in 2014. However, he still managed to easily secure a win with 56% of the preferences.
In his later years, he experienced several health issues, including a brain surgery in 2013 and a heart valve surgery in South Africa in June 2023.
As a passionate follower of football, he participated in the sport during his youth, leading to his moniker of Danger Point.
He tied the knot on three separate occasions, in the years 1967, 1993, and again in 2015. He also had three children.