• Namibian President Hage Gengobe died on Sunday while undergoing treatment for cancer. He was 82 years old.
  • Gengob, a member of the leftist SWAPO party, had been in office since 2015 and would have been ineligible for re-election for a second term.
  • Djengob was memorialized by a wide array of international colleagues, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Namibia’s president and founding prime minister Hage Gengobe died on Sunday at the age of 82 while undergoing treatment for cancer, and South African The nation immediately swore in their deputy to complete the term of office.

Returning as an anti-apartheid activist after a long exile in Botswana and the United States, Gengobe played a central role in what has become one of Africa’s most stable democracies. He was the country’s third president since it gained independence in 1990 after more than a century of rule by German and then apartheid South Africa.

He had been president since 2015 and was set to complete his second and final term this year. His deputy, Vice President Nangulu Mambuba, was sworn in as acting president in the capital Windhoek, to serve out the term as allowed by the constitution.

The President of Namibia is undergoing treatment for cancer.

Elections are scheduled for November. Mbumba will lead Namibian until March 21 next year, when the winner takes over, an official statement said.

Gengob died at a local hospital with his family by his side, the presidential office said. He returned to Namibian last month from the United States, where he underwent two days of “a new treatment for cancer cells,” according to his office. In 2014, he said he had survived prostate cancer.

Soft-spoken but determined to advance Africa’s agenda as a key stakeholder in global affairs — “Africa’s exclusion from the Security Council is an injustice,” he once said in a UN address — Gengobe has U.S. And maintain close relations with other western countries. The countries have rather, like many African leaders, established a warm relationship. With China and other options.

The President of Namibia addresses the United Nations General Assembly.

Namibian President Hege Gengob addresses the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, September 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among the leaders who sent messages of condolence on Sunday, saying he would cherish his memories of meeting Gengob forever. “It is difficult to overestimate his personal contribution to the development of friendly relations between Namibian and Russia,” a statement said.

Geingob hosted US first lady Jill Biden last year when she visited ahead of her husband’s expected visit to Africa in 2023. It didn’t happen.

Namibian, with a population of over 2.5 million, is rich in minerals such as diamonds, gold and uranium. According to the World Bank, despite being classified as an upper-middle-income country, socioeconomic inequality is still widespread.

The nation on Africa’s southwest coast enjoys political and economic stability in a region that has long seen conflict and contested elections. Namibian opposition criticized Gengob for endorsing disputed elections in Zimbabwe last year.

But opposition leader McHenry Venani paid tribute on Sunday.

“Indeed, the death of President Gengobe is a great loss not only to Namibia, but to the entire African continent,” said Venaani. “Such was the caliber of this master negotiator and statesman, a beacon of steadfast leadership in turbulent times.”

Djengob, who was Namibia’s first prime minister from 1990 to 2002 and served in the same capacity from 2008 to 2012, can speak on issues at home and abroad. In January, he criticized former colonial master Germany for supporting Israel after South Africa sued Israel at the International Court of Justice, accusing it of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

“Germany cannot express moral commitment United Nations Convention against Genocide, including atonement for the genocide in Namibian, while supporting the equivalent of the Holocaust and genocide in Gaza,” Gengob said.

He was referring to the events between 1904 and 1908 when colonial security forces in Namibia put down a rebellion that killed tens of thousands of people. Germany acknowledged in 2021 that the measures amounted to genocide and pledged more than $1 billion for infrastructure projects in the country.

Condolences were expressed by African leaders on Sunday.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called Gengobe “a great veteran of Namibia’s independence from colonialism and apartheid”.

Kenyan President William Ruto said Gangob had “strongly promoted the continent’s voice and visibility on the global stage.”

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa posted on X that Geingob’s “leadership and resilience will be remembered.”

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