Wednesday, February 7, 2024

A Part of Our History. Life of His Excellency Dr. Hage G. Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia.

Hage Geingob

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Hage Geingob
Geingob in 2023
3rd President of Namibia
In office
21 March 2015 – 4 February 2024
Prime MinisterSaara Kuugongelwa
Vice PresidentNickey Iyambo (2015–2018)
Nangolo Mbumba (2018–2024)
Preceded byHifikepunye Pohamba
Succeeded byNangolo Mbumba
President of SWAPO
In office
26 November 2017 – 4 February 2024
Preceded byHifikepunye Pohamba
Prime Minister of Namibia
In office
4 December 2012 – 20 March 2015
PresidentHifikepunye Pohamba
DeputyMarco Hausiku
Preceded byNahas Angula
Succeeded bySaara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila
In office
21 March 1990 – 28 August 2002
PresidentSam Nujoma
DeputyHendrik Witbooi
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byTheo-Ben Gurirab
Minister of Trade and Industry
In office
8 April 2008 – 4 December 2012
Prime MinisterNahas Angula
Preceded byImmanuel Ngatjizeko
Succeeded byCalle Schlettwein
Member of the National Assembly of Namibia
In office
21 March 1990 – 21 March 2015
Preceded byOffice established
Member of the Constituent Assembly of Namibia
In office
1989 – 21 March 1990
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byConstituent Assembly replaced with National Assembly
Personal details
Born3 August 1941
OtjiwarongoSouth West Africa
Died4 February 2024 (aged 82)
Political partySWAPO
Priscilla "Patty" Geingos
(m. 1967; div. 1992)
Loini Kandume
(m. 1992; div. 2008)
(m. 2015)
Alma materTemple University
Fordham University (BA)
The New School (MA)
University of Leeds (PhD)

Hage Gottfried Geingob (3 August 1941 – 4 February 2024) was a Namibian politician who served as the third president of Namibia from 2015 until his death in February 2024. Geingob was the first Prime Minister of Namibia from 1990 to 2002, and served as prime minister again from 2012 to 2015. Between 2008 and 2012 Geingob served as Minister of Trade and Industry. He also served as president of the ruling SWAPO Party from 2017 until his death.

In November 2014, Geingob was elected president of Namibia by an overwhelming margin. In November 2017, Geingob became the third president of SWAPO after winning by a large margin at the party's 6th Congress. In August 2018, Geingob began a one-year term as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community.

Early life[edit]

Geingob was born in OtjiwarongoSouth West Africa (present-day Namibia), on 3 August 1941.[1] He received his early education at Otavi in South West Africa under the Bantu Education System. He joined the Augustineum, where most of today's prominent political leaders of Namibia were educated, in 1958. In 1960, he was expelled from the Augustineum for having participated in a march in protest at the poor quality of education. He was, however, readmitted and finished the teacher-training course in 1961. Subsequently, he took up a teaching position at the Tsumeb Primary School in Central Namibia, but decided that he could not continue his own further education in Namibia. As a teacher, he also resented being forced to participate in the Bantu Education System (Bantu Education Act, 1953).

Therefore, at the end of the school year, he left his job to seek knowledge and instruction that could help him change the system. He and three of his colleagues walked and hitchhiked to Botswana to escape the system. From Botswana, he was scheduled to go to Dar es SalaamTanzania, on a plane chartered by the African National Congress (ANC), but the plane was blown up by South Africans. However, the bomb that had been planted on the plane went off prematurely, before the plane was able to take off. Subsequently, the apartheid regime also tightened up the "underground railway". As a result, Geingob stayed in Botswana, where he served as Assistant South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) Representative (1963–64).

University years[edit]

In 1964 Geingob left for the United States[2] to study at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was granted a scholarship. Subsequently, he obtained a BA degree from Fordham University in New York City in 1970 and an MA degree in International Relations from the Graduate Faculty of The New School, New York in 1974.

In 1964, he was appointed SWAPO Representative at the United Nations and to the Americas.[3] He served in this position until 1971. He travelled extensively, criss-crossing the United States, talking with people, and addressing gatherings. He and his colleagues were not always successful, but ultimately the United Nations General Assembly recognised SWAPO as the sole and authentic representative of the people of Namibia. Namibians' struggle at the international fora, and their armed struggle launched in 1966, eventually led to the independence of Namibia in 1990.

Career as politician and educationist[edit]

In 1972 Geingob was appointed to the United Nations Secretariat as political affairs officer, a position he held until 1975, when he was appointed director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia. He and his team were responsible for starting the institute, whose primary function was to train cadres who could take over the civil service of Namibia upon independence. Another important component of the institute was to carry out sectoral research to develop a policy framework for the government of independent Namibia. Over the years, it grew in stature and institutional relations were established with various institutions of higher learning in Europe, including the University of WarwickUniversity of East Anglia, and University of Sussex. These and other institutions recognized the institute's diploma and admitted its graduates for further studies.

Geingob was director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia until 1989. At the same time, he continued to be a member of both the Central Committee and the Politburo of SWAPO.

Constituent Assembly[edit]

In 1989, he was elected by the Politburo of SWAPO to spearhead SWAPO's election campaign in Namibia. To carry out this assignment, he returned to Namibia with many of his colleagues on 18 June 1989, after 27 years' absence from the country. As SWAPO's Director of Elections, Geingob, along with other members of his directorate, established SWAPO election centres throughout the country and spearheaded an election campaign that brought SWAPO to power in Namibia.

On 21 November 1989, subsequent to the elections, he was elected chairman of the Constituent Assembly, which was responsible for formulating the Namibian Constitution. But before a constitution could be formulated, he had to ensure that the Constituent Assembly went through a process of confidence building between the people, who were known for their hatred of each other. Subsequently, national reconciliation became government policy. Under Geingob's chairmanship, the Constituent Assembly unanimously adopted the Namibian Constitution on 9 February 1990.

1st Prime Minister tenure[edit]

On 21 March 1990, Geingob was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, and on 21 March 1995, he was sworn in for a second term.[citation needed] He served in this capacity for 12 years.[2] As prime minister Geingob introduced modern management approaches to the government; he was also committed to nature conservation coupled with tourism, and in the early 1990s opened the Ongava Lodge, just south of Etosha National Park.[citation needed]

Hiatus from political office[edit]

In a cabinet reshuffle on 27 August 2002, Geingob was replaced as prime minister by Theo-Ben Gurirab and appointed Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing, but declined to accept this lesser position.[4] He had placed ninth, with 368 votes, in the election to the central committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress,[5] but on 15 September, he failed to be reelected to the SWAPO politburo; he received 33 votes from the 83-member central committee, while the lowest scoring successful candidate received 35 votes.[6]

In 2003 Geingob was invited to be Executive Secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa based in Washington, D.C. The Global Coalition for Africa is an intergovernmental forum that brings together top African policymakers and their partners in the international community to build consensus on Africa's priority development issues. It is based on the premise that Africa can grow only from within, but to do so it needs outside support. His focus was to work with African continental and regional organizations and Africa's development partners toward conflict resolution in Africa, promotion of good governance in African states, and integration of African economies in the global economy.

Return to parliament[edit]

In the nomination of SWAPO parliamentary candidates by party delegates on 2 October 2004, Geingob, at the time still in Washington working for the Global Coalition for Africa, placed 28th out of 60.[7] He then left the Global Coalition for Africa and returned to Namibia to participate in the November 2004 parliamentary election, in which he won a seat.[8]

Swearing-in of President Hage Geingob (2015)

Geingob became the party Chief Whip of SWAPO in the National Assembly on 18 April 2007.[9] He was brought back into the SWAPO politburo in mid-2007, filling one of two vacancies.[10] In November 2007, a few weeks before a party congress, the politburo named Geingob its sole candidate for the position of vice-president of SWAPO.[11] At the congress, he was accordingly elected without opposition on 29 November 2007[12] and appointed Minister of Trade and Industry on 8 April 2008.[13]

2nd Prime Minister tenure[edit]

At SWAPO's 2012 party congress, Geingob was reelected as vice-president on 2 December,[14][15] a result considered likely to make him the successor of Hifikepunye Pohamba as president of Namibia in 2015. Geingob received 312 votes from the delegates, while Jerry Ekandjo received 220 and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana 64.[15][dead link] Following the congress, Pohamba appointed Geingob prime minister on 4 December 2012.[14]

President of Namibia[edit]

Geingob and US President Joe Biden at the United States–Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, December 2022

As the SWAPO candidate, Geingob was elected President of Namibia by an overwhelming margin on 28 November 2014, receiving 87% of the vote.[1] He was sworn in as president on 21 March 2015.[16] During his first term, he instituted social programs for the elderly and pushed for the development of renewable energy. However, his administration largely failed to alleviate poverty.[1]

While speaking to newspaper The Namibian in December 2016, he dared the United States to join the International Criminal Court to reassure African nations that the court is not particularly targeting Africans.[17] Geingob was the chairperson of SADC after being elected to the position in 2018.[18]

In November 2019 Geingob was reelected with 56.3% of the vote.[19]

In April 2021, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and The Namibian reported that Geingob was involved in the Fishrot scandal by allegedly instructing a government official to divert funds from a state-run fishing company to bribe attendees of the 2017 SWAPO electoral congress to vote for him.[20]

In February 2023, Geingob hosted First Lady of the United States Jill Biden, the highest-level official from the U.S. to visit Namibia since Al Gore in 1996.[21]

In March 2023, Geingob named Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as the SWAPO presidential candidate in the 2024 Namibian general election.[22]

In January 2024, Geingob supported South Africa's ICJ genocide case against Israel, saying that "No peace-loving human being can ignore the carnage waged against Palestinians in Gaza."[23] He also criticized Germany for supporting Israel, citing the Herero and Nama genocide by colonial authorities in then-German South West Africa.[24]

During his tenure he was known for maintaining good relations with variety of a countries including the United StatesChina, and Russia.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Geingob was known to be a die-hard football fan and attended many high-profile games.[25] He regularly attended the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs), and in his youth sang in a choir, and played in a band.[26]

In 1967 Geingob married Priscilla Charlene Cash, a New York City native; the couple had one daughter, Nangula Geingos-Dukes.[27] Geingob later married Loini Kandume, a businesswoman, on 11 September 1993, in Windhoek, in a high-profile marriage which resulted in two children: a daughter and a son.[28] Geingob initiated divorce proceedings against Kandume in May 2006, and he was granted a provisional divorce order in July 2008.[28] Geingob married Monica Kalondo on 14 February 2015.[29]

Illness and death[edit]

In 2013, Geingob underwent brain surgery. Geingob later said that he survived prostate cancer in 2014. He underwent heart valve surgery in South Africa in June 2023.[2]

On 8 January 2024, Geingob announced that he was diagnosed again with cancer after a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy.[30] He subsequently went for treatment in the United States on 25 January and returned to Namibia on 30 January following two days of treatment.[31] On 4 February, Vice President Nangolo Mbumba announced that Geingob had died at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek, where he had been receiving treatment.[32]

Mbumba was formally sworn into office as acting President of Namibia at a hastily arranged ceremony at State House in Windhoek, about 15 hours after Geingob's death.[33] A government spokesperson said that Mbumba would serve the remainder of Geingob's term, which expires on 21 March 2025.[24]

The minister of information and communication technology, Peya Mushelenga announced that a period of national mourning period would begin starting on 4 February until the day of Geingob's funeral, which is yet to be determined.[34]


Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium and the University of Namibia's Medical School Campus both in Windhoek are named after him.

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