Power and Politics

20 things to know about the late Namibian President, Geingob


Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, 82, died in hospital early on 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.

He was a Namibian politician who served as the third president of Namibia from March 21, 2015 until his death on February 4, 2024.

Bidding farewell to Geingob, here are some of the things to know about him.

1. Born in 1941, Geingob was a prominent politician since before Namibia achieved independence.

Read more: Breaking! Namibia’s President, Hage Geingob, dies at 82

2. He began his primary education in the region under the Bantu Education Act 1953, legislating the apartheid system.

3. However, he completed his education through the Trans-Africa Correspondence College of South Africa.

4. In 1958, Geingob attended Augustineum Training College in the district capital of the Okahandja, graduating in 1962.

5. Afterward, he moved to Botswana and served as Assistant Representative of the Southwest Africa People Organization (SWAPO Party).

6. He remained there in a refugee camp until 1964 and later that year, he left the continent for the United States to study.

7. Following United Nations supervised elections in the run-up to independence, he chaired the constituent assembly which drafted the constitution which came into effect with Namibian independence.

8. His doctoral thesis at the University of Leeds, in Britain, was titled “State Formation in Namibia: Promoting Democracy and Good Governance”.

9. He gained his PhD in 2004.

10. He chaired the body that drafted Namibia’s constitution, then became its first prime minister at independence on March 21 of that year.

11. He became prime minister again in 2012, having served for a spell as minister of trade and industry.

12. He spent several years abroad promoting the idea of independence for what was then known as South West Africa.

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

14. Between 2008 and 2012 Geingob served as Minister of Trade and Industry.

15. In 2013, the anti-apartheid activist-turned-politician underwent brain surgery, and the following year he revealed that he had survived prostate cancer.

16. As Prime Minister in 2014, he told the public that he had survived prostate cancer.

17. During the same year, Geingob was elected president of Namibia by an overwhelming margin.

18. He succeeded Hifikepunye Pohamba, who steps down at the end of the two terms allowed by the constitution.

19. In November 2017, Geingob became the third president of SWAPO after winning by a large margin at the party’s 6th Congress.

20. In August 2018, Geingob began a one-year term as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community.

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