Freedom fighter, politician, teacher and soccer fan Dr Hage Geingob (1941 …)
WINDHOEK - Dr Hage Geingob, Namibia’s first prime minister at independence in 1990, comes from humble beginnings.
On 21 March 1990, Geingob was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia and on 21 March 1995 he was again sworn in as Prime Minister for a second term.
Geingob served as Prime Minister for 12 years during which he introduced modern management approaches to the running of government. In a Cabinet reshuffle in August 2002, he was replaced and appointed as Minister of Regional, Local Government and Housing but he however politely declined this lesser position.
In 2003, Geingob was appointed as the Executive Secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa based in Washington, D.C.
The Global Coalition for Africa is an innovative intergovernmental forum that brings together top African policy makers and their partners in the international community to build consensus on Africa’s priority development issues.
It is based on the premise that Africa can grow from within but can only do so with external support.
In December 2012, President Hifikepunye Pohamba reappointed Geingob as Prime Minister.
In November 2007, a few weeks before the SWAPO Party congress, the Politburo named Geingob as its sole candidate for the position of Vice-President of SWAPO. At the congress, he was accordingly elected without opposition on 29 November, 2007 and subsequently appointed as Minister of Trade and Industry on 8 April 2008.
As the Namibian presidency is restricted to two terms, President Hifikepunye Pohamba will step down in 2015, and Geingob, as SWAPO Vice-President, will take his place as SWAPO’s presidential candidate.
Geingob was born in Otjiwarongo on 3 August 1941 and had his early primary schooling in Otavi. Like many of the prominent Namibian politicians he did his teacher’s diploma at Augustineum College in Okahandja in 1958 to 1961.
In 1960, Geingob was expelled from Augustineum for having participated in a march to protest against Bantu education but he was later re-admitted and able to finish the teacher-training course in 1961. There his initiation into politics began and in 1962 he joined SWAPO.
As teacher, he also hated being an unwilling instrument in perpetuating the infamous Bantu education system. Therefore, at the end of the school year, he left his job to seek knowledge and instruction that could help him change the system.
He with three of his colleagues, walked and hitch-hiked to Botswana to escape the system. From Botswana, he was scheduled to go to Tanzania but due to circumstances Geingob had to stay in Botswana where he was appointed Assistant South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) Representative in Botswana (1963–64).
In 1964 he was appointed by the then SWAPO president Dr Sam Nujoma as a petitioner to the United Nations, a position he served until 1971.
While in the United States Geingob registered at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was granted a scholarship and obtained a BA degree from Fordham University in New York in 1970 and an MA degree in International Relations from the Graduate Faculty of The New School, New York in 1974.
In 1972, Geingob was appointed as Political Affairs Officer to the United Nations Secretariat, a position he held until 1975 when he was appointed Director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia. During the 70s he was also apointed as the Associate Political Affairs Officer to the United Nations Secretariat (Council for Namibia) and was later appointed to the Politburo of Swapo.
After 27 years of absence from the country Geingob and his colleagues came back to Namibia in June 1989, to spearhead SWAPO’s election campaign in the country.
As SWAPO’s Director of Elections, Geingob along with other members of his directorate established SWAPO election centres throughout the country and spearheaded an election campaign which brought SWAPO to power in Namibia.
In November 1989 he was elected Chairman of the Constituent Assembly responsible for formulating the universally respected Namibian Constitution.
After a long liberation struggle Geingob was sworn in as the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia in March 1990. Geingob, an avid soccer fan who also likes rugby, turns 72 on Sunday.
By Mwaka Liswaniso
New Era Reporter
2014-08-01 11:47:08 4 years ago