Hage Geingob, Namibia’s longest-serving Prime Minister and third President, was an anti-apartheid activist turned statesman, who reduce a reassuring determine.
He handed away early on February 4 in a hospital within the capital Windhoek, the place he was receiving therapy for most cancers. He was 82.
Born in a village in northern Namibia in 1941, Hage Gottfried Geingob was the southern African nation’s first president exterior of the Ovambo ethnic group, which makes up greater than half the nation’s inhabitants.
He took up activism towards South Africa’s apartheid regime, which on the time dominated over Namibia, from his early education years earlier than being pushed into exile.
He spent virtually three a long time in Botswana and the United States, leaving the previous for the latter in 1964.
The tall, deep-voiced chief studied at Fordham University in New York, and far later in life acquired a PhD within the United Kingdom.
While within the U.S., he remained a vocal advocate for Namibia’s independence, representing the native liberation motion, SWAPO, now the ruling celebration, on the United Nations and throughout the Americas.
In the early Seventies he began a profession working for the UN on governance points.
Seen as a centrist, he returned to Namibia in 1989, a 12 months earlier than the nation’s independence.
“I embraced the soil of Namibia after 27 years in exile. Looking back, the journey of building a new Namibia has been worthwhile,” he mentioned in a Twitter put up in 2020 posting a photograph of his youthful self kissing the tarmac after touchdown again residence.
When SWAPO received the primary vote in 1990, Geingob was appointed Prime Minister – a place he held for 12 years earlier than returning to it once more in 2012.
In 2014, because the celebration comfortably received yet one more vote, driving on the legacy of its position within the liberation battle, Geingob turned president.
In between high jobs, the composed but stern speaking chief who sported wide-rimmed glasses and a tuft of gray hair on his chin, held varied ministerial and inside celebration positions.
But his first time period as president was tainted by a recession, excessive unemployment and graft allegations.
In 2019, paperwork printed by WikiLeaks instructed that authorities officers took bribes from an Icelandic agency in trade for continued entry to Namibia’s fishing grounds.
The “fish rot” scandal threatened Geingob’s prospects of a second time period, with the top of state additionally coming beneath hearth for pumping cash right into a bloated administration and granting contracts to overseas quite than native corporations.
His share of the vote dropped significantly in 2019 from the 2014 top of 87 p.c, however he was nonetheless in a position to comfortably sail to victory with 56 p.c of preferences.
He suffered a few well being scares in his later years, having undergone mind surgical procedure in 2013 and a coronary heart valve surgical procedure in South Africa in June 2023.
An avid soccer fan, he performed the game as a younger man, which earned him the nickname “Danger Point”.
He was married 3 times, in 1967, 1993 and once more in 2015 and had as many kids. His final consort, Monica Geingos is a lawyer and businesswoman.