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Faith Nyasuguta

Shortly after revealing the passing of his predecessor, Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba has assumed the role of Namibia’s new president.

The 82-year-old Mbumba, who has served as vice president since 2018, will remain in the position until November 2024 when the southern African nation will hold elections.

Mbumba, born on Aug. 15, 1941 is a dedicated member of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO). He boasts an extensive career, having led various ministries in Namibia.

His portfolio includes Minister of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development (1993-1996), Minister of Finance (1996-2003), Minister of Information and Broadcasting (2003-2005), Minister of Education (2005-2010), and Minister of Safety and Security (2010-2012). From 2012 to 2017, Mbumba held the position of secretary-general of the ruling SWAPO.

Namibia is still mourning the loss of immediate former President Hage Geingob, who passed away at the age of 82 in the early hours of Sunday at a hospital in the capital, Windhoek. The presidential office confirmed his death in a statement, revealing that he had been receiving treatment for cancer since January.

Geingob, Namibia’s longest-serving prime minister and third president, was first elected to the presidency in 2014 and was currently serving his second term. Despite facing health challenges, he remained dedicated to his role until the end. 

The news of his passing was announced by the acting president, Mbumba, expressing deep sadness and regret.

The president’s battle with health issues began in January when a routine medical check-up revealed cancerous cells. Despite receiving treatment, Geingob’s health deteriorated, and he passed away surrounded by his wife, Madame Monica Geingos, and his children at Lady Pohamba hospital in Windhoek.

Mbumba praised Geingob as a distinguished servant of the people, a liberation struggle icon, and the chief architect of Namibia’s constitution. Born in a northern Namibian village in 1941, Geingob became the first president outside the Ovambo ethnic group, representing a significant portion of the country’s population.

His journey into activism against South Africa’s apartheid regime, which ruled over Namibia, led him into exile. He spent almost three decades in Botswana and the US, advocating for Namibia’s independence. Geingob represented the liberation movement, Swapo, at the UN and across the Americas.

Upon Swapo’s victory in the first elections in 1990, Geingob became prime minister, a position he held for 12 years before returning to it in 2012. In 2014, he ascended to the presidency as Swapo secured another electoral triumph.

Geingob’s first term as president faced challenges of a recession, high unemployment, and allegations of corruption, notably the “fish rot” scandal revealed in WikiLeaks documents. Despite these challenges, he comfortably won a second term in 2019, securing 56% of preferences.

The late President Hage Geingob /CNN/

Throughout his career, Geingob demonstrated resilience and commitment to Namibia’s development, navigating the complexities of post-independence challenges. His health scares and battles did not deter him from pursuing his vision for the nation.

Namibia now faces the task of mourning the loss of a leader who played a pivotal role in its history, and the government will attend to necessary state arrangements and protocols during this time of sorrow. The cabinet will convene immediately to address these matters and ensure a smooth transition in the wake of President Hage Geingob’s passing.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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