WINDHOEK, Namibia – Namibian President Hage Geingob passed away at the age of 82 in a hospital in Windhoek as he received treatment for cancer. The Vice President of Namibia, Nangolo Mbumba, announced his death. Geingob was diagnosed with cancer after his annual medical checkup last month, and he had been receiving treatment in the United States.
Geingob had been serving as president since 2015 and played a significant role in Namibia’s political landscape since its decolonization in 1990. His political party, South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), had already planned to put forward Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as its presidential candidate in the upcoming elections this year.
The late president, educated in the United States, attended a U.N. General Assembly event in New York City in 2017 where President Donald Trump made a reference to “Nambia.” Geingob did not publicly react to the error, which was later corrected in a White House transcript of Trump’s comments.
Geingob had a rich political history, serving as Namibia’s first prime minister from 1990 to 2002 after chairing the committee that formulated the country’s first constitution. However, his passing leaves a significant void in the political scene of Namibia, a country with a population of under 2.8 million and abundant natural resources but struggling with a falling GDP per capita and high levels of inequality and poverty.
Furthermore, Namibia has a complex history, being colonized by Germany and later administered by a white-minority government controlled by South Africa. Geingob’s party, SWAPO, launched a guerrilla war in 1966 that ultimately led to the country’s independence in 1990. His death marks the end of an era for the nation as it mourns the loss of a transformative and influential leader.