Categories: Zim Latest

Namibian President Hage Geingob, dies

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, 82, died early Sunday, the presidency said, weeks after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Geingob had been in charge of the thinly populated and mostly arid southern African country since 2015, the year he announced he had survived prostate cancer.

Vice President Nangolo Mbumba takes the helm in Namibia — a mining hotspot with significant deposits of diamonds and the electric car battery ingredient lithium — until presidential and parliamentary elections at the end of the year.

A presidency post on social media platform X did not give a cause of death, but late last month the presidency said he had traveled to the United States for “a two-day novel treatment for cancerous cells,” after being diagnosed following a regular medical check-up.

Born in 1941, Geingob was a prominent politician since before Namibia achieved independence from white minority-ruled South Africa in 1990.

He chaired the body that drafted Namibia’s constitution, then became its first prime minister at independence on March 21 of that year, a position he retained until 2002.

‘Chains of injustice’

In 2007, Geingob became vice president of the governing South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), which he had joined as an agitator for independence when Namibia was still known as South West Africa.

SWAPO has remained in power in Namibia unchallenged since independence. The former German colony is technically an upper middle-income country but one with huge disparities in wealth.

“There were no textbooks to prepare us for accomplishing the task of development and shared prosperity after independence,” he said in a speech to mark the day in 2018. “We needed to build a Namibia in which the chains of the injustices of the past would be broken.”

Geingob served as trade and industry minister before becoming prime minister again in 2012.

He won the 2014 election with 87% of the vote but only narrowly avoided a runoff with a little more than half the votes in a subsequent poll in November 2019.

That election followed a government bribery scandal, in which officials were alleged to have awarded horse mackerel quotas to Iceland’s biggest fishing firm, Samherji, in exchange for kickbacks, according to local media reports. The resultant outcry led to the resignation of two ministers.

The following year, Geingob lamented that Namibia’s wealth still remained concentrated in the hands of its white minority.

“Distribution is an issue, but how do we do it?” Geingob said in a virtual session at an event organized by international organization Horasis.

“We have a racial issue here, a historical racial divide. Now you say we must grab from the whites and give it to the Blacks, it’s not going to work,” he said.

His comments came after the government rescinded as unworkable a policy that would have made it mandatory for white-owned businesses to sell a 25% stake to Black Namibians.

Geingob died at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek, where he was receiving treatment from his medical team, the presidency said.

Reuters

Share

Recent Posts

Virtual court hearings unconstitutional, Zim not ready for paperless court sessions- PLC report

In August last year the High Court Rules were amended by SI 153/2023 to allow… Read More

28th February 2024

Police recover cash and goods worth US$145,000 stolen from Quest Financial Services after arrest of 6 suspects

The Zimbabwe Police say they have recovered cash and property worth US$145,000 from six suspects… Read More

28th February 2024

NOT GUILTY: Court overturns Mahere’s conviction

The High Court acquitted former Citizens Coalition for Change legislator Fadzayi Mahere on appeal, following… Read More

28th February 2024

You must face the music, Temba Mliswa tells daughter who was arrested on drugs abuse charges

Former Norton Independent Member of Parliament Temba Mliswa says he has let his daughter arrested… Read More

28th February 2024

Warriors captain Nakamba’s return to competitive action before end of season doubtful, coach

Luton Town gaffer Robe Edwards is not sure if Warriors skipper Marvelous Nakamba will be… Read More

28th February 2024

Serial rapist jailed 232 years for 18 counts of sex crime on teenage girls

BULAWAYO – A 30-year-old serial rapist has been jailed 232 years by a Bulawayo magistrate… Read More

28th February 2024