Namibian leader Hage Geingob, who was once a prominent anti-apartheid advocate and later became a respected statesman, passes away at 82 years old.

Namibian leader Hage Geingob, who was once a prominent anti-apartheid advocate and later became a respected statesman, passes away at 82 years old.

The office of Hage Geingob, the President of Namibia known for being one of the most stable democracies in Africa, announced that he passed away on Sunday while receiving medical care at a nearby hospital.

The office of the Namibian president stated that Geingob’s medical team at Lady Pohamba Hospital made every effort to assist him, but he ultimately passed away with his wife, Monica Geingos, and children at his side. This was shared in a post on X, previously known as Twitter.

Namibia’s interim president, Angolo Mbumba, urged for peace in a statement, also mentioning that the Cabinet will meet immediately to handle necessary state preparations.

According to reports from local media, Mbumba has requested an immediate gathering of the cabinet.

Per the Namibian constitution, a new election must take place within 90 days of Geingob’s passing to select a new president.

Namibia's President Hage Geingob dies aged 82

The President of Namibia, Hage Gottfried Geingob, delivered a speech at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France on November 12, 2021 during the 75th anniversary celebration of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Julien de Rosa/ Pool via REUTERS

Geingob, who is 82 years old, recently received medical care for cancer. On January 8th, he underwent a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy, and his office reported that a biopsy was performed last month.

According to his office, he came back to his home on January 31st after receiving a two-day experimental treatment for cancer while in the United States. He had previously announced in 2014 that he had successfully battled prostate cancer.

Geingob, president of the southern African nation since 2015, was set to finish his second and final term in office this year. He was the country’s third president since it gained independence in 1990, following more than a century of German and then apartheid South African rule.

After being an anti-apartheid activist and living in exile for about thirty years in Botswana and the United States, Geingob came back to Namibia and became its initial prime minister from 1990 to 2002. He also held the same position from 2008 to 2012.

Geingob, while being soft-spoken, was determined to push forward Africa’s interests as a significant player in global matters. He maintained strong ties with the United States and other Western nations.

However, similar to numerous other African leaders, he also cultivated a positive rapport with China, dismissing accusations of Beijing’s forceful exertion of economic power over African nations as a type of colonialism.

Namibia, which is on the southwestern coast of Africa, enjoys political and economic stability in a region ravaged by disputes, violent elections and coups. However, the country’s opposition slammed Geingob last year for endorsing disputed elections in Zimbabwe.

On Sunday, condolences were expressed by numerous African leaders.

On X, President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe shared a message praising Geingob’s strong leadership and determination, noting that it will be remembered.

Cyril Ramaphosa, the leader of South Africa, which is a nearby country and a significant trade ally of Namibia, referred to him as a “trusted ally in our system of democracy” and “a highly respected figure in Namibia’s fight for independence from colonialism and apartheid.”

The Prime Minister of Kenya, William Ruto, praised Geingob as a distinguished leader who served the people of Namibia with dedication and focus. He also commended Geingob for promoting Africa’s voice and presence on the global stage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to meet with Geingob, stating that he will always hold fond memories of their encounter. He also acknowledged Geingob’s significant role in fostering strong relations between Namibia and Russia.

Namibia is a nation with a population of approximately 2.5 million, and it possesses valuable minerals, including diamonds, gold, and uranium. However, despite being categorized as an upper-middle-income country, there are still significant socioeconomic disparities, according to the World Bank.

Namibians were anticipated to go to the polls in November to elect a new leader.