By Nancy Emily Nagujja
Namibia mourns the passing of President Hage Geingob, a key figure in the nation’s history. Geingob, who served as Namibia’s first prime minister after gaining independence in 1990, passed away at the age of 82 after battling cancer.
In January 2024, President Geingob publicly disclosed his cancer diagnosis, having commenced treatment for “cancerous cells” discovered during routine medical examinations. Despite ongoing medical care in the United States, the president continued to fulfill his duties until his return to Namibia on February 2.
President Geingob passed away at Lady Pohamba Hospital in Windhoek, surrounded by his wife Madame Monica Geingos and children. Acting president Nangolo Mbumba expressed the nation’s loss, highlighting Geingob’s role as a liberation struggle icon, chief architect of Namibia’s constitution, and a pillar of the nation.
President Geingob has previously had health struggles: in 2013, he underwent brain surgery, followed by surviving prostate cancer in 2014. Last year, aortic surgery in South Africa added to his medical history. Unfortunately, these health challenges ultimately led to his untimely demise.
Namibia, preparing for presidential and parliamentary elections in November, faced a unique situation as Geingob re-elected in 2019, was ineligible for another term under constitutional limits. If elected, the ruling SWAPO Party’s presidential candidate, Nandi-Ndaitwah, could become Namibia’s first female head of state.
In the aftermath of Geingob’s death, Nangolo Mbumba swiftly assumed office and oversees funeral arrangements for his predecessor. The global community has offered condolences, with leaders like Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledging Geingob’s pivotal role in Namibia’s liberation from colonialism and apartheid.
“The Namibian nation has lost a distinguished servant of the people, a liberation struggle icon, the chief architect of our constitution and the pillar of the Namibian house,” said Mbumba.
“At this moment of deepest sorrow, I appeal to the nation to remain calm and collected while the Government attends to all necessary state arrangements, preparations and other protocols.”
Namibia reflects on the legacy of a leader who served in top political positions since independence, and as the nation mourns, it also faces a transition with Nangolo Mbumba stepping into the role of president.