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Death of Namibian President Hage Geingob, anti-apartheid activist

Photo: Phill Magakoe Agence France-Presse President of the country since 2014, Hage Geingob died in Windhoek, the Namibian capital where he had been hospitalized since the discovery of cancer cells during a medical check-up, the presidency announced.

France Media Agency to Windhoek

February 4, 2024

  • Africa

Namibian President Hage Geingob, a figure of independence and ardent opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa, died on Sunday at the age of 82 from cancer.

President of the country since 2014, he died in Windhoek, the Namibian capital where he had been hospitalized since the discovery of cancer cells during a medical check-up, the presidency announced.

He had recently supported South Africa's complaint against Israel before the International Court of Justice and condemned the position of Germany, Namibia's former colonial power, which rejected Pretoria's accusations of “genocide” against Israel.

“It is with the greatest sadness and regret that I inform you that our beloved Dr. Hage G. Geingob, the President of the Republic of Namibia, passed away today,” is- he writes in a statement published on the social network

Elected for the first time in 2014, Hage Geingob was re-elected in 2019 as president of Namibia, a semi-desert country in southern Africa, one of the last states on the continent to gain independence in 1990. < /p>

In January, the presidency announced that a routine medical check-up of Hage Geingob had revealed the presence of “cancer cells”.

The Namibian president had already experienced health problems: in 2013, he had brain surgery and last year, his aorta.

“Visionary Leader”

Many voices have saluted his memory.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has paid tribute to a “prominent veteran of Namibia’s liberation from colonialism and apartheid.”

His Kenyan counterpart, William Ruto, honored a president who “believed in a unified Africa”, with Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu also calling it “a venerable Pan-Africanist”.

The Burundian President, Evariste Ndayishimiye, like the Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, regretted the death of a “visionary leader”, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) welcoming the investment of Mr. Geingob in public health matters.

US President Joe Biden hailed “a fearless leader who fought for independence, oversaw the writing of his country's new Constitution, and served twice in as prime minister and finally as president.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke of a “great man” of whom he will “forever remember brightly” and who contributed greatly “to the development of friendly relations between Russia and Namibia”.

“Germany loses a partner who engaged in the process of resolving German colonial history with great openness,” declared Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In Namibia, Germany was responsible for the massacres of at least 70,000 indigenous Herero and Nama people between 1904 and 1908, which many historians consider the first genocide of the 20th century.

In May 2021, after more than five years of tough negotiations, Germany announced that it recognized having committed “genocide” in Namibia, which it colonized between 1884 and 1915, and promised development aid of 1.1 billion euros over thirty years to benefit the descendants of the two tribes.

Activist for independence

Born in northern Namibia in 1941, Hage Gottfried Geingob launched into activism at a young age, demanding an end to the South African apartheid regime which then governed the Namibian territory, before going into exile. for nearly three decades.

In the United States, he ardently promoted the independence of Namibia and represented at the UN and in the Americas the local liberation movement, SWAPO — the current ruling party.< /p>

In 1989, he returned to Namibia, a year before his country gained independence and his first appointment as prime minister.

He remained in office for 12 years, a record for longevity in Namibia, before serving again in 2012.

Then elected president in 2014 thanks to an electoral tidal wave (87%), he saw his first mandate marred by a recession, a high unemployment rate and accusations of dishonest behavior.

In 2019, documents made public by WikiLeaks notably suggested that government officials received bribes from an Icelandic company that wanted to secure access to Namibia's fishing resources .

Despite the controversy, Mr. Geingob won a second term in 2019, however receiving fewer votes than before (56%).

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116