Hage Geingob, elected president in 2014, died in Windhoek, the Namibian capital where he was hospitalized after the discovery of cancer cells during a medical check-up, the presidency announced.
“It is with the greatest sadness and regret that I inform you that our beloved Dr. Hage G. Geingob, the President of the Republic of Namibia, passed away today,” is written in a statement published on the social network X, signed by the new interim head of state, Nangolo Mbumba, until then vice-president.
Elected for the first time in 2014, Hage Geingob was re-elected in 2019 as president of Namibia, a semi-desert country in southern Africa, one of the last states on the continent to have gained independence in 1990.
Mr Geingob was surrounded by his wife and children at the time of his death at Lady Pohamba Hospital in the capital, the statement said.
Last month, the presidency announced that a routine medical check-up had revealed the presence of ” cancer cells “ at the head of state and specified that he was going to follow a “appropriate treatment“, while retaining its functions.
Hage Geingob had already suffered health problems, including before coming to power. In 2013, he had brain surgery. Last year, he had an aortic operation in South Africa, a country neighboring Namibia.
“The Namibian nation has lost a distinguished servant of the people, an icon of the liberation struggle, the chief architect of our Constitution and the pillar of our Namibian house,” said Mr. Mbumba.
“In this moment of profound sadness, I call on the nation to remain calm and collected,” he added.
Kenyan President William Ruto on Sunday sent his condolences, praising the memory of a president who served his people with ” dedication “. “He believed in a unified Africa and strongly defended the voice and visibility of the continent on the world stage”added the Kenyan leader.
Born in northern Namibia in 1941, Hage Gottfried Geingob launched into activism at a young age, demanding an end to the apartheid regime of South Africa which then governed the Namibian territory, before going into exile for almost three decades.
In the United States, he ardently promotes the independence of Namibia and represents at the United Nations and in the Americas the local liberation movement, SWAPO – the current ruling party.
In 1989, he returned to Namibia, a year before his country’s independence and his first appointment as Prime Minister.
He remained in office for 12 years, a record for longevity in Namibia, before becoming one again in 2012.
Then elected president in 2014 thanks to an electoral tidal wave (87%), he saw his first mandate marred by a recession, a high unemployment rate and accusations of dishonest actions.
In 2019, documents made public by WikiLeaks suggested that government officials received bribes from an Icelandic company that wanted to secure access to Namibia’s fishing resources.
Despite the controversy, Mr. Geingob won a second term in 2019, however receiving fewer votes than before (56%).
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