Namibian President Hage G. Geingob, a key figure in the struggle for independence from apartheid-era South Africa who later became the country's first prime minister and longest-serving head of state, died early Sunday. He is 82 years old.
Office of the President announced his death In a statement on social media, Vice President Nngolo Mbumba, who is now Acting President, said:
In 2015 Mr. Keingob, who had been battling cancer for the past few weeks, died shortly after midnight at a hospital in the capital Windhoek, the statement said.
He was Namibia's first Prime Minister from 1990 until the country's independence in 2002. He served in that position again 10 years later before being elected president.
Mr. Geingob was born on August 3, 1941 in the town of Otjiwarongo in the South African Territory of South-West Africa.
Beginning in his 20s, exiled first from Botswana and then from the United States, he headed the South West African People's Organization, a group that fought for Namibian independence and later became the country's ruling political party.
While in the United States, he studied at Fordham University in New York City and later earned a master's degree in international relations from the New School in New York.
After independence, Mr. Among other tasks, he oversaw the drafting of the country's new constitution as the head of the Constituent Assembly.
“I know as well as the rest of the SWAPO leadership that Namibian society is divided because of years of apartheid and racial discrimination in the provision of services and opportunities,” he later said. wrote of the drafting process. Therefore, he said, “My first job is to promote a spirit of consultation, mutual respect and harmony.”
After serving as Prime Minister for two terms, in 2014 Mr. Kingop was elected president. He was re-elected in 2019 and was serving a second term at the time of his death.
Namibia is due to hold its next election later this year, and Mr. Geingop's ruling SWAPO party has chosen Nedumpo Nandi-Ndaitwa as its prime ministerial candidate. If elected, she would be the country's first female president.
Mr. Keingob is with his wife and children, the president's office said in a statement.