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Namibia’s President Hage Geingob, 82, Passes Away Following Cancer Diagnosis

Namibia's President Hage Geingob, 82, Passes Away Following Cancer Diagnosis
Credits: LatestLY

Namibia is in mourning as President Hage Geingob, aged 82, passed away in a hospital on Sunday after a battle with cancer.

His death came a few weeks after the diagnosis, which led him to seek innovative cancer treatment in the United States. Geingob had been at the helm of Namibia since 2015, surviving prostate cancer announced that year.

Vice President Nangolo Mbumba has assumed the interim presidency in Namibia, a nation known for its mining activities, including substantial deposits of diamonds and lithium, a key component in electric car batteries.

Namibia's President Hage Geingob, 82, Passes Away Following Cancer Diagnosis

Namibia’s President, Hage Geingob (Credits: GMA Network)

This transition will continue until the country conducts presidential and parliamentary elections later in the year.

The official announcement of President Geingob’s death did not specify the cause, but the presidency disclosed last month that he underwent a unique cancer treatment in the United States. Born in 1941, Geingob played a significant role in Namibian politics well before the country gained independence from white minority-ruled South Africa in 1990.

He chaired the committee responsible for drafting Namibia’s constitution and subsequently became the country’s first prime minister upon independence in March 1990, a position he held until 2002.

Geingob was a member of the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), which he initially joined as an advocate for Namibian independence when the country was still known as South West Africa.

SWAPO has maintained uninterrupted governance in Namibia since its independence, making it one of Africa’s long-standing ruling parties. Despite being classified as an upper-middle-income country, Namibia faces substantial wealth disparities.

Reflecting on Namibia’s journey after independence, Geingob emphasized the need to break the “chains of injustices” from the past, acknowledging the challenges of building a nation with shared prosperity. He served as the trade and industry minister before reclaiming the prime minister position in 2012.

In 2014, Geingob secured a resounding victory in the presidential election with 87% of the vote. However, he narrowly avoided a runoff in the November 2019 poll, which occurred amid a government bribery scandal.

The scandal implicated officials in allegedly granting fishing quotas to Iceland’s leading fishing company, Samherji, in exchange for kickbacks.

The subsequent outcry led to the resignation of two ministers, and Geingob acknowledged the challenges of wealth distribution, expressing concern about the concentration of wealth in the hands of Namibia’s white minority.

He participated in discussions about how to address these issues, dismissing the notion of forcibly transferring wealth from whites to Blacks as unworkable.

President Geingob passed away at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek, where he had been under the care of his medical team. Namibia mourns the loss of a leader who played a pivotal role in its independence and subsequent development. The country now faces a period of transition as it prepares for elections later in the year.

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