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Hage Geingob

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Hage Geingob
Geingob in 2023
3rd President of Namibia
In office
21 March 2015 – 4 February 2024
Prime MinisterSaara Kuugongelwa
Vice PresidentNickey Iyambo (2015–2018)
Nangolo Mbumba (2018–2024)
Preceded byHifikepunye Pohamba
Succeeded byNangolo Mbumba
President of SWAPO
In office
26 November 2017 – 4 February 2024
Preceded byHifikepunye Pohamba
Prime Minister of Namibia
In office
4 December 2012 – 20 March 2015
PresidentHifikepunye Pohamba
DeputyMarco Hausiku
Preceded byNahas Angula
Succeeded bySaara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila
In office
21 March 1990 – 28 August 2002
PresidentSam Nujoma
DeputyHendrik Witbooi
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byTheo-Ben Gurirab
Minister of Trade and Industry
In office
8 April 2008 – 4 December 2012
Prime MinisterNahas Angula
Preceded byImmanuel Ngatjizeko
Succeeded byCalle Schlettwein
Member of the National Assembly of Namibia
In office
21 March 1990 – 21 March 2015
Preceded byOffice established
Member of the Constituent Assembly of Namibia
In office
1989 – 21 March 1990
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byConstituent Assembly replaced with National Assembly
Personal details
Born(1941-08-03)3 August 1941
Otjiwarongo, Namibia
Died4 February 2024(2024-02-04) (aged 82)
Windhoek, Namibia
Political partySWAPO
Spouses
Priscilla "Patty" Geingos
(m. 1967; div. 1992)
Loini Kandume
(m. 1992; div. 2008)
(m. 2015)
Children5
Alma materTemple University
Fordham University (BA)
The New School (MA)
University of Leeds (PhD)
OccupationPolitician

Hage Gottfried Geingob (3 August 1941 – 4 February 2024) was a Namibian politician who served as the third president of Namibia from 2015 until his death in February 2024. Geingob was the first Prime Minister of Namibia from 1990 to 2002, and served as prime minister again from 2012 to 2015.[1] Between 2008 and 2012 Geingob served as Minister of Trade and Industry.[2] In November 2014, Geingob was elected president of Namibia by an overwhelming margin. In November 2017, Geingob became the third president of the ruling SWAPO Party after winning by a large margin at the party's sixth Congress. He served as the party's president until his death. In August 2018, Geingob began a one-year term as chairperson of the Southern African Development Community.

Early life[edit]

Geingob was born in Otjiwarongo, South West Africa (present-day Namibia), on 3 August 1941.[3] He received his early education at Otavi. He joined the Augustineum in 1958. In 1960, he was expelled from the Augustineum for participating in a march that protested the poor quality of education and food. However, he was readmitted and finished the teacher training course in 1961. Subsequently, he took up a teaching position at the Tsumeb Primary School in Central Namibia, but decided that he could not further his own education in Namibia. As a teacher, he also resented being forced to participate in the Bantu Education System.[4]

Therefore, at the end of the school year, he left his job to seek knowledge and instruction that could help him change the system. He and three of his colleagues walked and hitchhiked to Botswana to escape the system.[5] Geingob lived in exile in Botswana, the United States and the United Kingdom for 27 years.[6] In Botswana, he served as Assistant South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO) Representative from 1963 to 1964.[7] From Francistown, Botswana, he was scheduled to travel on a plane chartered by the African National Congress (ANC), but the plane was blown up by South African agents the evening before the plane was supposed to take off.[8] Subsequently, the apartheid regime also tightened up the "underground railway".[5]

University years[edit]

In 1964, Geingob left for the United States[9] to study at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Subsequently, he obtained a BA degree from Fordham University in New York City and an MA degree from The New School in New York City.[10]

In 1964, he was appointed SWAPO Representative at the United Nations and to the Americas.[11] He served in this position until 1971. He travelled extensively across the United States. Eventually the United Nations General Assembly recognized SWAPO as the sole and authentic representative of the people of Namibia.[4]

Career as politician and educationist[edit]

In 1971, Geingob was appointed to the United Nations Secretariat as political affairs officer.[7] In 1975, he was appointed director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia.[10] He and his team were responsible for starting the institute, whose primary function was to train cadres who could take over the civil service of Namibia upon independence. Another important component of the institute was to carry out sectoral research to develop a policy framework for the government of independent Namibia. Over the years, it grew in stature and institutional relations were established with various institutions of higher learning in Europe, including the University of Warwick, University of East Anglia, and University of Sussex. These and other institutions recognized the institute's diploma and admitted its graduates for further studies.

Geingob was director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia until 1989.[10] At the same time, he continued to be a member of both the Central Committee and the Politburo of SWAPO.

Constituent Assembly[edit]

In 1989, he spearheaded SWAPO's election campaign in Namibia.[10] To carry out this assignment, he returned to Namibia with many of his colleagues on 18 June 1989, after 27 years' absence from the country. As SWAPO's Director of Elections, Geingob, along with other members of his directorate, established SWAPO election centres throughout the country and spearheaded an election campaign that brought SWAPO to power in Namibia.

On 21 November 1989, subsequent to the elections, he was elected chairman of the Constituent Assembly,[10] which was responsible for formulating the Namibian Constitution. But before a constitution could be formulated, he had to ensure that the Constituent Assembly went through a process of confidence building between the people, who were suspicious of each other. Subsequently, the preamble to the Namibian Constitution stated that the government would strive to achieve national reconciliation. Under Geingob's chairmanship, the Constituent Assembly unanimously adopted the Namibian Constitution on 9 February 1990.[12]

First Prime Minister tenure[edit]

Geingob's first tenure as prime minister lasted for 12 years, from 1990 to 2002.[9][10] As prime minister Geingob introduced modern management approaches to the government; he was also committed to nature conservation coupled with tourism, and in the early 1990s opened the Ongava Lodge, just south of Etosha National Park.[citation needed]

Hiatus from political office[edit]

In a cabinet reshuffle on 27 August 2002, Geingob was replaced as prime minister by Theo-Ben Gurirab and appointed Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing, but declined to accept this lesser position.[13] He had placed ninth, with 368 votes, in the election to the central committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress,[14] but on 15 September, he failed to be reelected to the SWAPO politburo; he received 33 votes from the 83-member central committee, while the lowest scoring successful candidate received 35 votes.[15]

In February 2003, Geingob became the Executive Secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa, based in Washington, D.C.[16]

Return to parliament[edit]

In the nomination of SWAPO parliamentary candidates by party delegates on 2 October 2004, Geingob, at the time still in Washington working for the Global Coalition for Africa, placed 28th out of 60.[17] He then left the Global Coalition for Africa and returned to Namibia to participate in the November 2004 parliamentary election, in which he won a seat.[18]

Swearing-in of President Hage Geingob (2015)

Geingob became the party Chief Whip of SWAPO in the National Assembly on 18 April 2007.[19] He was brought back into the SWAPO politburo in mid-2007, filling one of two vacancies.[20] In November 2007, a few weeks before a party congress, the politburo named Geingob its sole candidate for the position of vice-president of SWAPO.[21] At the congress, he was accordingly elected without opposition on 29 November 2007[22] and appointed Minister of Trade and Industry on 8 April 2008.[23]

Second Prime Minister tenure[edit]

At SWAPO's 2012 party congress, Geingob was reelected as vice-president on 2 December,[24][25] a result which was considered likely to make him the successor of Hifikepunye Pohamba as president of Namibia in 2015. Geingob received 312 votes from the delegates, while Jerry Ekandjo received 220 and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana 64.[25] [dead link] Following the congress, Pohamba appointed Geingob prime minister on 4 December 2012.[24]

President of Namibia[edit]

Geingob and US President Joe Biden at the United States–Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, December 2022

As the SWAPO candidate, Geingob was elected President of Namibia by an overwhelming margin on 28 November 2014, receiving 87% of the vote.[3] He was sworn in as president on 21 March 2015.[26] During his first term, he instituted social programs for the elderly and pushed for the development of renewable energy. However, his administration largely failed to alleviate poverty.[3] He was criticized for spending too much money on a bloated administration and granting contracts to foreign companies instead of Namibian companies.[9] Namibia's gender inequality gap decreased during his presidency.[10]

While speaking to newspaper The Namibian in December 2016, he dared the United States to join the International Criminal Court to reassure African nations that the court is not particularly targeting Africans.[27] Geingob was the chairperson of SADC after being elected to the position in 2018.[28]

In November 2019 Geingob was reelected with 56.3% of the vote.[29]

In February 2023, Geingob hosted First Lady of the United States Jill Biden, the highest-level official from the U.S. to visit Namibia since Al Gore in 1996.[30]

In March 2023, Geingob named Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as the SWAPO presidential candidate in the 2024 Namibian general election.[31]

After the Supreme Court of Namibia ruled in favor of equal treatment for two foreign same-sex spouses of Namibian citizens in May 2023, Geingob did not sign a bill passed by the National Assembly that sought to invalidate the verdict.[10]

In January 2024, Geingob supported South Africa's ICJ genocide case against Israel, saying that "No peace-loving human being can ignore the carnage waged against Palestinians in Gaza."[32] He also criticized Germany for supporting Israel, citing the Herero and Nama genocide by colonial authorities in then-German South West Africa.[33]

During his tenure he was known for maintaining good relations with a variety of countries including the United States, China, and Russia.[33]

Controversy[edit]

In April 2021, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project and The Namibian reported that Geingob was involved in the Fishrot scandal by allegedly instructing a government official to divert funds from a state-run fishing company to bribe attendees of the 2017 SWAPO electoral congress to vote for him.[34] According to a source in the OCCRP investigation, Geingob allegedly asked James Hatuikulipi, then chairman of the state-owned fishing company Fishcor, to set up an elaborate corporate structure in order to siphon public funds generated from the country’s lucrative fishing resources. According to bank records analysed by OCCRP, front companies set up by SWAPO proxies transferred $4.5m through this scheme between July 2017 and November 2018.[35][36][37]

Personal life[edit]

Geingob was known to be a die-hard football fan and attended many high-profile games.[38] He regularly attended the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs), and in his youth sang in a choir, and played in a band.[39] He was also a fan of Jazz music festival.

In 1967 Geingob married Priscilla Charlene Cash, a New York City native; the couple had one daughter, Nangula Axabis Geingos-Dukes and a son, Sékou Touré Mangaliso Fernandez Geingob, the eldest child.[40] Geingob later married Loini Kandume, a businesswoman, on 11 September 1993, in Windhoek, in a high-profile marriage which resulted in two children: a daughter and a son.[41] Then comes Oshoveli Munashimwe, the third born, followed by Dangos Ndakondjelwa Geingos. Geingob initiated divorce proceedings against Kandume in May 2006, and he was granted a provisional divorce order in July 2008.[41] Geingob married Monica Kalondo on 14 February 2015.[42]

Illness, death and funeral[edit]

In 2013, Geingob underwent brain surgery.[43] Geingob later said that he survived prostate cancer in 2014. He underwent heart valve surgery in South Africa in June 2023.[9]

On 8 January 2024, Geingob announced that he was diagnosed again with cancer after a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy.[44] He subsequently went for treatment in the United States on 25 January and returned to Namibia on 30 January following two days of treatment.[45] On 4 February, Vice President Nangolo Mbumba announced that Geingob had died at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek, where he had been receiving treatment.[46] Minister of environment, forestry and tourism Pohamba Shifeta subsequently disclosed that Geingob had told him in December 2023 that he had only six months to live.[47]

Mbumba was formally sworn into office as acting President of Namibia at a hastily arranged ceremony at State House in Windhoek, about 15 hours after Geingob's death.[6] A government spokesperson said that Mbumba would serve the remainder of Geingob's term, which expires on 21 March 2025.[33]

The minister of information and communication technology, Peya Mushelenga announced that a period of national mourning period would begin on 4 February until Geingob's funeral at the Auas Mountains on 25 February. President Mbumba later amended the mourning period to last from 5 to 25 February and decreed a state funeral for him at the Heroes' Acre in Windhoek on 25 February. He also conferred Geingob with the posthumous honor of National Hero. Geingob's death prompted calls for Namibia to establish official guidelines on the deaths of incumbent and former heads of state.[48][49][50][51]

During the mourning period, Geingob was laid at the State House, his private residence of Casa Rosalia, and at Parliament Gardens, with processions held in Windhoek during the transfers. His funeral on 25 February 2024 was attended by at least 20 heads of state, including those of Qatar, Tanzania, Germany, Finland, South Africa, Angola, Bostwana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Ghana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe. High-level delegations were also sent by the African Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and Algeria.[52][53][54][55] Several former heads of state also attended his funeral.[56]

Legacy[edit]

Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium, Hage G. Geingob High School and the University of Namibia's Medical School Campus both in Windhoek are named after him.

Awards, honours and recognition[edit]

Research activities and publications[edit]

Hage Geingob received his Ph.D. from the University of Leeds. His thesis was entitled "State Formation in Namibia: Promoting Democracy and Good Governance".[58] In his thesis, he examined significant events in the formation of Namibia and provided an insight into the role played by various actors involved in molding Namibia's evolution as a state. He also examined the efforts of Namibians to build a society out of diverse and stratified racial and ethnic groups that were often opposed to each other, to promote democracy and a policy of reconciliation, to improve the condition of the previously disadvantaged groups through affirmative action, to encourage good governance, to promote a culture that respects human rights, and to build state institutions that support these policies. Finally, he carried out a democratic audit of Namibia.[59]

As the director of the Institute for Namibia and as the chairman of the Research Coordinating Committee, Hage Geingob oversaw all research activities at the United Nations Institute for Namibia. The result of this effort resulted in 22 published research studies.

Geingob was also the chairman of the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on Namibia, Namibia: Perspectives for National Reconstruction and Development, which was undertaken by the United Nations Institute for Namibia in pursuance of the mandate given to it by the United Nations General Assembly.[60] This study covered all aspects of socio-economic reconstruction and development for independent Namibia. This study came to be known as the "Blue Bible", referring to the colour of its cover, among the researchers and planners of Namibia. Indeed, this study provided the blueprint for setting up the new government in independent Namibia.

In addition, Geingob contributed numerous articles to various publications, including monographs, periodicals and newspapers.

Geingob travelled extensively covering all the continents and attended, chaired, and presented papers at numerous UN and other international conferences. He also regularly attended the General Assembly sessions from 1965 to 1985.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Geingob Hage". Namibian Parliament. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Geingob Hage". Namibian Parliament. Retrieved 12 March 2024.
  3. ^ a b c Eligon, John; Zhuang, Yan (4 February 2024). "Hage Geingob, Namibia's President, Dies at 82". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 5 February 2024. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  4. ^ a b Life and times of Hage Geingob, New Era
  5. ^ a b Oyebamiji, Usman (4 February 2024). "Hage Geingob and The Namibia's Anti-apartheid Struggle". Susa Africa. Retrieved 19 June 2024.
  6. ^ a b "Hage Geingob: Namibia's president dies aged 82". BBC. 4 February 2024. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  7. ^ a b Geingob Hage, Parliament of Namibia
  8. ^ GEINGOB’S BOTSWANA ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT RELIVED, Namibian Sun
  9. ^ a b c d "Hage Geingob, Namibia's president, dies aged 82 after cancer treatment". The Guardian. 4 February 2024. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Hage Geingob: The Modernising Namibian Who Became a President of Unfulfilled Promises, The Wire
  11. ^ "Namibia's anti-apartheid President Hage Geingob dies in hospital aged 82". France 24. 4 February 2024. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  12. ^ Drafting of Namibia's Constitution, Hage G Geingob
  13. ^ Christof Maletsky, "Nujoma shuffles the Cabinet pack", The Namibian, 28 August 2002. Archived 19 November 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "The ruling party's new Central Committee", The Namibian, 27 August 2002. Archived 4 January 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Former Premier Geingob out of ruling party central committee", The Namibian, 16 September 2002.
  16. ^ Africa: Hage Geingob appointed as Executive Secretary, allafrica.com
  17. ^ Tangeni Amupadhi, "Major shift in Swapo leadership", The Namibian, 4 October 2004. Archived 29 April 2005 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ List of members of the National Assembly elected in 2004.[dead link]
  19. ^ "Minutes of Proceedings of the National Assembly", Parliament of Namibia, 18 April 2007. [dead link]
  20. ^ Brigitte Weidlich, "Crunch time for Swapo", The Namibian, 2 October 2007. [dead link]
  21. ^ Christof Maletsky, "Hage named heir apparent", The Namibian, 12 November 2007. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Nujoma succeeded by Pohamba", AFP, 30 November 2007. Archived copy at WebCite (1 February 2010).
  23. ^ Kuvee Kangueehi, "Cabinet shake up" Archived 26 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, New Era, 9 April 2008.
  24. ^ a b "Namibia leader taps trade minister as likely successor" Archived 16 May 2021 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters, 4 December 2012.
  25. ^ a b Immanuel, Shinovene; Shipanga, Selma (3 December 2012). "Moderates prevail". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 7 December 2012.
  26. ^ "Namibia inaugurates President Hage Geingob", The Namibian, 21 March 2015.
  27. ^ "Namibia will stay in ICC – if United States joins, says President". Archived from the original on 6 December 2016. Retrieved 5 December 2016.
  28. ^ Zambia : 38th SADC Summit officially opens in Namibia Archived 30 August 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Incumbent Geingob wins Namibia presidential election with 56.3% of the vote". Reuters. 1 December 2019. Archived from the original on 1 December 2019. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  30. ^ Superville, Darlene (22 February 2023). "Namibian dancers, president welcome Jill Biden to Africa". AP News. Archived from the original on 24 November 2023. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  31. ^ "Namibia: President Geingob Names Nandi-Ndaitwah Woman Successor". The Heritage Times. 13 March 2023. Archived from the original on 20 September 2023. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  32. ^ "Genocide case against Israel: Where does the rest of the world stand on allegations?". Euronews. 14 January 2024. Archived from the original on 5 February 2024. Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  33. ^ a b c "Namibian President Hage Geingob dies in a hospital where he was receiving treatment, his office says". Associated Press. 4 February 2024. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  34. ^ Kleinfeld, James (2 April 2021). "Namibian president caught in new fishing corruption allegations". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 5 April 2021. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  35. ^ "Namibian president caught in new fishing corruption allegations".
  36. ^ "Leaked Affidavit Implicates Namibian President in Fishrot Scandal".
  37. ^ "Fishrot".
  38. ^ "President Hage Geingob's tribute to Namibian Sports Mascot Robson "Robbie" Savage". Government of Namibia. 21 July 2017. Archived from the original on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  39. ^ Kayunde, Michael (3 August 2018). "Geingob, The Lover of Sports, Music". The Namibian (The President's 77th Birthday Supplement ed.). pp. 2–3.
  40. ^ PM's ex-wife Patty dies Archived 4 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Namibian, 5 December 2014
  41. ^ a b "Geingob marriage on rocks" Archived 4 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Namibian, 24 July 2008.
  42. ^ Geingob, Monica say 'I do' Archived 4 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Namibian, 16 February 2015
  43. ^ "Namibia's president to undergo treatment after 'cancerous cells' found". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  44. ^ "Namibian President Geingob dies in hospital while receiving treatment". Africanews. 4 February 2024. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  45. ^ Petersen, Shelleygan (4 February 2024). "President Hage Geingob is dead". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  46. ^ "Namibian President Hage Geingob dies in a hospital where he was receiving treatment". National Public Radio. Associated Press. 4 February 2024. Archived from the original on 4 February 2024. Retrieved 4 February 2024.
  47. ^ "Geingob told top officials he had six months to live". The Namibian. 12 February 2024. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  48. ^ "Three weeks for mourning Geingob – traditional leader". The Namibian. 6 February 2024. Retrieved 7 February 2024.
  49. ^ "Mushelenga urges observance of official condolence protocol". The Namibian. 7 February 2024. Retrieved 8 February 2024.
  50. ^ "Funeral on Sunday for dignified send-off". The Namibian. 12 February 2024. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  51. ^ "Mbumba confers national hero honour on Geingob". The Namibian. 16 February 2024. Retrieved 17 February 2024.
  52. ^ "Hage Geingob: A guide to the funeral weekend". The Namibian. 23 February 2024. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  53. ^ "Nation gathers to bid farewell to Geingob". The Namibian. 25 February 2024. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  54. ^ "Namibian President Hage Geingob laid to rest at Heroes' Acre cemetery after state funeral". Associated Press. 25 February 2024. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  55. ^ "PHOTOS: World Leaders Attend Namibia ex President Hage Geingob's Funeral". ChimpReports. 24 February 2024. Retrieved 26 February 2024.
  56. ^ "Namibia: Nation Gathers to Bid Farewell to Geingob". allAfrica.com. 27 February 2024. Archived from the original on 27 February 2024. Retrieved 27 February 2024.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  57. ^ a b c d "Hage G. Geingob". The Namibian (The President's 77th Birthday Supplement ed.). 3 August 2018. p. 4.
  58. ^ State formation in Namibia : promoting democracy and good governance Archived 2 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Geingob, Hage Gottfried, University of Leeds, 2004
  59. ^ Geingob, Hage Gottfried (2004) State formation in Namibia : promoting democracy and good governance, Ph.D. thesis, University of Leeds
  60. ^ Namibia: Perspectives for National Reconstruction and Development Archived 9 September 2023 at the Wayback Machine, United Nations Institute for Namibia, 1986, page 10

External links[edit]

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