Theo-Ben Gurirab

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The Honorable
Theo-Ben Gurirab
Speaker of the National Assembly
Assumed office
20 March 2005
President Hifikepunye Pohamba
Preceded by Mose Penaani Tjitendero
2nd Prime Minister of Namibia
In office
27 August 2002 – 19 March 2005
President Sam Nujoma
Preceded by Hage Geingob
Succeeded by Nahas Angula
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
21 March 1990 – 26 August 2002
President Sam Nujoma
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Hidipo Hamutenya
Personal details
Born (1939-01-23) 23 January 1939 (age 75)
Usakos, Erongo Region
Nationality Namibian
Political party SWAPO
Spouse(s) Joan Guriras
Children 2
Occupation Politician
Religion Christian

Theo-Ben Gurirab (born January 23, 1939) is a Namibian politician who was Prime Minister of Namibia from 2002 to 2005. Previously he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1990 to 2002, and during that time he was President of the United Nations General Assembly from 1999 to 2000. He has been Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia since 2005.[1]

Political career[edit]

Gurirab was born in Usakos in Erongo Region.[1] In exile from 1962 to 1989, he was Associate Representative of the SWAPO Mission to United Nations and United States from 1964 to 1972, then Head of the SWAPO Mission to the United Nations from 1972 to 1986. Subsequently he was SWAPO's Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1986 to 1990.[1]

He was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990, immediately prior to independence,[2] and since 1990 he has been a member of the National Assembly.[1] He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from independence in 1990 until he was appointed as Prime Minister by President Sam Nujoma on August 27, 2002, replacing Hage Geingob.[3]

While serving as Foreign Minister, he was elected as the President of the United Nations General Assembly on September 14, 1999, serving in that position until September 2000.[4]

Following the 2004 election, Gurirab was elected as Speaker of the National Assembly at the beginning of the new parliamentary term on March 20, 2005.[1][5]

He received the sixth highest number of votes—377—in the election to the Central Committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress.[6] He was again one of the highest scoring candidates in the election to the Central Committee at SWAPO's November 2007 congress.[7]

As of April 2009, Gurirab is the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organization of parliaments of sovereign states.[8]

Gurirab was re-elected to the National Assembly in the November 2009 parliamentary election, in which SWAPO retained a large majority of seats. When the MPs took their seats for the new parliamentary term on 19 March 2010, they unanimously re-elected Gurirab to his post as Speaker of the National Assembly. Speaking on that occasion, Guiriab stressed the importance of the Constitution: "As one of its authors, and among the longest serving public officials, and founders of our Republic, I know of the highest vision the Constitution provides for Namibia, as well as the promise of national unity, reconciliation, democracy, the rule of law, human dignity, socio-economic emancipation and the commitment to protect the gains of our long and bitter struggle for liberation and independence."[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e Profile at Namibian Parliament website.
  2. ^ List of members of the Constituent Assembly, Namibian Parliament website.
  3. ^ Christof Maletsky (28 August 2002): "Nujoma shuffles the Cabinet pack", The Namibian via
  4. ^ Peter Mwaura, "Namibian to lead UN General Assembly", Africa Recovery, volume 13 #2-3 (September 1999), page 4.
  5. ^ "New Parliament Takes Office in Namibia", VOA News, March 20, 2005.
  6. ^ "The ruling party's new Central Committee", The Namibian, August 27, 2002.
  7. ^ Christof Maletsky, "Swapo big names dropped", The Namibian, December 3, 2007.
  8. ^ "IPU chief condemns undemocratic transition of power in Madagascar". Xinhua News Agency. 4 April 2009. 
  9. ^ John Ekongo, "New MPs take their seats", New Era, 23 March 2010.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Didier Opertti Badan
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by
Harri Holkeri
Political offices
Preceded by
Hage Geingob
Prime Minister of Namibia
Succeeded by
Nahas Angula