Namibian President Hage Geingob Dies at 82 

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(FILES) Namibian President Hage Geingob arrives at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, for the inauguration of Incumbent South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on May 25, 2019. – Namibia’s President Hage Geingob died early on February 4, 2024 in a hospital in Windhoek, the presidential office said in a statement on social media platform X. (Photo by Michele Spatari / AFP)

By Adedapo Adesanya

The President of Namibia, Mr Hage Geingob, died early Sunday in a hospital in the capital of the Southern African country, Windhoek at 82.

Mr Geingob, who was serving his second term as president and was his country’s first prime minister after independence, revealed last month that he was being treated for cancer.

“It is with utmost sadness and regret that I inform you that our beloved Dr. Hage G. Geingob, the President of the Republic of Namibia, has passed on today,” read a statement signed by acting president, Mr Nangolo Mbumba.

“At his side, was his dear wife Madame Monica Geingos and his children.”

A biopsy following a routine medical check-up in January had revealed “cancerous cells”, the president’s office said at the time.

First elected president in 2014, Mr Geingob was Namibia’s longest-serving prime minister and third president.

In 2013, Mr Geingob underwent brain surgery, and last year he had an aortic operation in neighbouring South Africa.

Up until his death, he had been receiving treatment at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek.

Born in a village in northern Namibia in 1941, Mr Geingob was the southern African country’s first president outside of the Ovambo ethnic group, which makes up more than half the country’s population.

In his early years he took up activism against South Africa’s apartheid regime, which at the time ruled over Namibia, and in 1964 he was appointed representative for the SWAPO liberation movement at the United Nations.

He spent almost three decades in Botswana and the United States, returning to Namibia in 1989 to lead SWAPO’s election campaign in his now independent homeland.

Namibia is to hold presidential and national assembly elections towards the end of the year.

World leaders have started sending their condolences including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa and Kenya’s William Ruto, who described him as a national hero to the struggle against apartheid.

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