President Paul Kagame has joined world leaders to mourn the passing of President Hage Geingob of Namibia, sending his condolences to Monica Kalonda, the deceased leader’s wife and the Namibian people
My deepest condolences to my sister @KalondoMonica, the entire family and the people of Namibia for the passing of my brother and friend President Hage Geingob,” tweeted President Kagame, who received the news, while in the US for Rwanda Day 2024.
“His leadership through Namibia’s liberation struggle, his tireless work in service of his people and his commitment to a united Africa will all be remembered for generations to come,” President Kagame posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
The Namibian head of state, Hage Geingob, died at the age of 82, a development which was announced to the nation by the Vice-President, Nangolo Mbumba, who on Sunday was sworn in as Namibia’s 4th President.
Geingob died in the early hours of Sunday morning, surrounded by his wife and children at Lady Pohamba Hospital, in Windhoek, where he was receiving medical treatment from his medical team. The statement from the Presidency, paid tribute to the now late head of state, who played a significant part in the liberation of Namibia, from apartheid South Africa.
“Fellow Namibians, The Namibian nation has lost a distinguished servant of the people, a liberation struggle icon, the chief architect of our constitution and the pillar of the Namibian house. At this moment of deepest sorrow, I appeal to the nation to remain calm and collected while the Government attends to all necessary state arrangements, preparations and other protocols. Further announcements in this regard will be made,”
President Geingob, who was considered a good friend of Rwanda, last visited the country in June 2022 to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2022) but before that he had paid a state visit to Rwanda in December 2019, accompanied by the First Lady, Monica Geingob.
The reciprocal visit, which began on December 9, 2019 came four months after President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame visited Namibia for two days. He was welcomed by President Paul Kagame at Kigali International Airport.
While in Rwanda, he attended the International Anti-Corruption Awards, where he was recognised for his efforts to fight corruption in his country and together with President Kagame, committed to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Namibia and Rwanda.
It was the second time President Geingob had visited Rwanda in the same year, having joined Rwandans on July 4, 2019 for the 25th Liberation day celebrations. Before that, he also attended the Presidential inauguration on August 18, 2017 where he joined thousands of Rwandans and leaders at the swearing-in ceremony of the head of state.
The eighty-two year-old was diagnosed with cancer, a diagnosis released to the country last month. His office announced that he would travel to America, for specialist treatment, but would return to Namibia on 2 nd February, where he would continue his treatment, at the Lady Pohamba hospital, where he died, at around 4am, Sunday morning.
In 2014, Geingob underwent an aortic operation, revealing that he had also survived prostate cancer. Hage Geingob was first elected to the Presidency in 2015, and he was serving his second and final term in office, when he died.
Like so many countries in Africa, and around the world, Namibia is due to hold its elections this year, in their case, in November. The governing SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organisation) party, which has been in power since the country’s hard won independence from apartheid South Africa, in 1990, has chosen Nandi-Ndaitwah as its next candidate.
The former deputy prime minister and minister of International Relations and Cooperation, assumed the role of the new vice president.
The world leaders, representing diverse countries and institutions, swiftly responded to the news of the passing of President Geingob, expressing their condolences and acknowledging the profound impact he had on both Namibia and the global community.
Presidents Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, William Ruto of Kenya), and Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, were among the African leaders who took to X, formerly Twitter, to mourn President Geingob.
President Ramaphosa described Geingob as an outstanding leader, a patriot and a friend of South Africa
“President Geingob was a towering veteran of Namibia’s liberation from colonialism and apartheid. He was also greatly influential in the solidarity that the people of Namibia extended to the people of South Africa so that we could be free today. We are, therefore, filled with appreciation and sadness at the passing of a comrade in struggle and a close partner in our democratic dispensation. May his soul rest in peace,” Ramaphosa tweeted.
President Ruto also noted that Geingob was a distinguished leader who served the people of Namibia with focus and dedication.
“He was a believer of a unified Africa and strongly promoted the continent’s voice and visibility at the global arena. May God give the people of Namibia strength and courage during this difficult period,” President Ruto posted.
President Suluhu said she was deeply saddened by the passing of Geingob, whom she referred to as a dear brother, a venerable Pan-Africanist, and a great friend of Tanzania.
“On behalf of the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, I send my condolences to the people of the Republic of Namibia, the Acting President, His Excellency Dr Nangolo Mbumba, Madam First Lady, Her Excellency Monica Kalondo, family, friends and comrades in SWAPO,” she wrote comforting the First Lady of Namibia and her family.
President Geingob’s legacy extended far beyond the borders of Namibia. The leaders, each with their unique diplomatic style, crafted heartfelt statements that transcended political boundaries.
“A baobab has fallen. My most sincere condolences to the Govt, the people & the family of my brother, H.E. Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of #Namibia. An inspiring Pan-Africanist leader who led his country with humility, determination & courage until the end. #Omake,” posted Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
A statement from the White House, from the President of the United States, conveyed deep sorrow and highlighted President Geingob’s commitment to democracy, human rights, and sustainable development. Condolences also came in from President Vladmir Putin of Russia.
According to AFP, President Emmanuel Macron of France expressed deep sorrow, highlighting President Geingob’s dedication to peace and prosperity in Namibia and the broader African continent while Chinese President Xi Jinping offered condolences, recognizing President Geingob’s contributions to fostering diplomatic relations and economic cooperation between Namibia and China.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared his condolences, emphasizing the importance of President Geingob’s leadership in advancing social justice and equality.
“For decades, President Geingob served his country with constancy and generosity, and fostered closer ties between Canada and Namibia. I loved the time I spent with him. I offer my condolences to his family and to Namibians during this ordeal,” the Canadian PM tweeted.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sympathy, praising President Geingob’s commitment to democracy and socio-economic development in Namibia while messages also came in from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who recognized President Geingob’s advocacy for global cooperation on pressing issues.
World Health Organisation Director, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, hailed Geingob’s work to improve healthcare for Namibians, dubbing him a “visionary leader” while more African leaders joined the chorus of condolences, with messages pouring in from across the continent.
Presidents and Prime Ministers from different African and other nations from across the world expressed their grief, highlighting President Geingob’s impact on regional and continental stability, economic development, and the advancement of Pan-African ideals.
These leaders, among many others, added their voices to the global chorus of condolences, underscoring the widespread respect for President Hage Geingob had garnered over the years at the helm of the Southern African nation.