Hage Geingob

Hage Geingob

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Hage Geingob is a Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

n politician who was the first Prime Minister of Namibia
Prime Minister of Namibia
-Prime Ministers of Namibia :-See also:*Namibia**Politics of Namibia**List of colonial heads of Namibia **List of Presidents of Namibia...

 following its independence, serving from 1990 to 2002. He has been the Vice-President of the South West Africa People's Organization (SWAPO), Namibia's ruling party, since 2007, and he has been Minister of Trade and Industry since 2008.

Early life

Geingob was born in the Grootfontein District
Grootfontein is a city of 14,200 inhabitants in the Otjozondjupa Region of central Namibia. It is one of the three towns in the Otavi Triangle, situated on the B8 national road that leads from Windhoek to the Caprivi Strip...

 of Namibia. He received his early education at Otavi in Namibia under the Bantu Education System
Bantu Education Act
Bantu Education Act of 1953 was a South African law which codified several aspects of the apartheid system. Its major provision was enforced separation of races in all educational institutions. Even universities were made 'tribal', and all but three Missionary schools chose to close down when the...

. He joined the Augustineum Training College in 1958 where most of today’s prominent political leaders of Namibia were educated. In 1960, he was expelled from Augustineum for having participated in a march to protest the poor quality of education. He was, however, re-admitted and was able to finish the teacher-training course in 1961. Subsequently, he took up a teaching position at the Tsumeb Primary School in Central Namibia but soon discovered that his thirst for knowledge was unlikely to be quenched in Namibia. As teacher, he also hated being an unwilling instrument in perpetuating the 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
Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana , is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens are referred to as "Batswana" . Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966...

 to escape the system. From Botswana, he was scheduled to go to Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam , formerly Mzizima, is the largest city in Tanzania. It is also the country's richest city and a regionally important economic centre. Dar es Salaam is actually an administrative province within Tanzania, and consists of three local government areas or administrative districts: ...

 on a plane chartered by African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

 (ANC). However, this plane was blown up by the South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

ns when it was still on ground because the time bomb went off prematuarely. Subsequently, the apartheid regime also tightened up the "underground railway." As a result, Hage Geingob, stayed on in Botswana where he was appointed Assistant South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) Representative in Botswana (1963-64).

University years

In 1964, Hage Geingob left for the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to study at Temple University
Temple University
Temple University is a comprehensive public research university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Originally founded in 1884 by Dr. Russell Conwell, Temple University is among the nation's largest providers of professional education and prepares the largest body of professional...

 where he was granted a scholarship. Subsequently, he obtained a BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree from Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University is a private, nonprofit, coeducational research university in the United States, with three campuses in and around New York City. It was founded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York in 1841 as St...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 in 1970 and an MA
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 degree in International Relations
International relations
International relations is the study of relationships between countries, including the roles of states, inter-governmental organizations , international nongovernmental organizations , non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations...

 from the Graduate Faculty of The New School
The New School
The New School is a university in New York City, located mostly in Greenwich Village. From its founding in 1919 by progressive New York academics, and for most of its history, the university was known as the New School for Social Research. Between 1997 and 2005 it was known as New School University...

, New York in 1974.

In 1964, he was appointed SWAPO Representative at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and to the Americas. He served in this position until 1971. Those years for him were the years of crusade -- crusade for freedom and independence. He travelled extensively, criss-crossing the United States, talking with people, addressing gatherings. He and his colleagues were not always successful, but they did find some converts who helped them keep the Namibian issue alive at the United Nations until the United Nations General Assembly's recognition of SWAPO as the sole and authentic representative of the people of Namibia. Namibians' struggle at the international fora, and their armed struggle launched in 1966 eventually led to the independence of Namibia in 1990.

Career as politician and educationist

In 1972, Hage Geingob was appointed to the United Nations Secretariat as Political Affairs Officer, a position he held until 1975 when he was appointed Director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia
United Nations Institute for Namibia
The United Nations Institute for Namibia was an educational body set up by the United Nations Council for Namibia from 1976-1990. Based in Zambia's capital of Lusaka, UNIN was the brainchild of United Nations Commissioner for Namibia Seán MacBride, the proposal creating UNIN was adopted by the...

. He, with his team, was responsible for starting this training and research Institute whose primary function was to train cadres who could take over the civil service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 of Namibia on independence. An important component of the Institute was also to carry out sectoral research to develop policy framework for the government of independent Namibia. Over the years, the Institute grew in stature and institutional relations were established with various institutions of higher learning in Europe, e.g., University of Warwick
University of Warwick
The University of Warwick is a public research university located in Coventry, United Kingdom...

, University of East Anglia
University of East Anglia
The University of East Anglia is a public research university based in Norwich, United Kingdom. It was established in 1963, and is a founder-member of the 1994 Group of research-intensive universities.-History:...

, and University of Sussex
University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is an English public research university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. The University received its Royal Charter in August 1961....

. These and other institutions recognized the Institute's diploma and readily admitted its graduates for further studies.

Hage Geingob held the position of the Director of the Institute until 1989. At the same time, he continued to be a member of both the Central Committee and the Politburo
Politburo , literally "Political Bureau [of the Central Committee]," is the executive committee for a number of communist political parties.-Marxist-Leninist states:...

 of SWAPO.

In 1989, he was elected by the Politburo of SWAPO to spearhead SWAPO's election campaign in Namibia. To carry out this assignment, he returned to Namibia with many of his colleagues on 18 June 1989, after 27 years' absence from the country. As SWAPO's Director of Elections, Hage 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.

On 21 November 1989 subsequent to the elections, he was elected Chairman of the Constituent Assembly
Members of the Constituent Assembly of Namibia
Below is a list of members of the Constituent Assembly of Namibia, which became the National Assembly of Namibia upon independence in March 1990. Individual members were selected by political parties voted for in the 1989 election, the first multi-racial, universal franchise elections in Namibian...

 which was responsible for formulating the Namibian Constitution. However, before a constitution could be formulated, he had to ensure that the Constituent Assembly went through a process of confidence building between the people who were known for their hatred of each other. Seeds of national reconciliation were thus sown at this Constituent Assembly. Subsequently, national reconciliation was to become government policy. Under his chairmanship, the Constituent Assembly unanimously adopted the Namibian Constitution on 9 February 1990. This Constitution is considered to be one of the most liberal and democratic in Africa if not the world.

On 21 March 1990, Hage 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 the Prime Minister of Namibia for the second term. He served in this capacity for twelve years. Hage Geingob, as Prime Minister introduced modern management approaches to the running of the government.

Hage Geingob was also committed to nature conservation coupled with tourism, and in the early 1990s opened the Ongava Lodge, just south of Etosha.

In a cabinet reshuffle on August 27, 2002, Geingob was replaced as Prime Minister by Theo-Ben Gurirab
Theo-Ben Gurirab
Theo-Ben Gurirab is a Namibian politician who has been the Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia since 2005; previously he was Prime Minister of Namibia from August 27, 2002 to March 19, 2005.-Political career:...

 and was instead appointed Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing. Geingob declined to accept this lesser position, however. He had placed ninth, with 368 votes, in the election to the Central Committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress, but on September 15, he failed to be re-elected to the SWAPO Politburo; he received 33 votes from the 83-member Central Committee, while the lowest scoring successful candidate received 35 votes.

In 2003, Hage Geingob was invited to be the Executive Secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa based in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 The Global Coalition for Africa is an innovative intergovernmental forum that brings together top African policymakers 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 only from within, but to do so it needs outside support. His focus was to work with African continental and regional organizations and Africa’s development partners towards conflict resolution in Africa, promotion of good governance
Good governance
Good governance is an indeterminate term used in development literature to describe how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources in order to guarantee the realization of human rights. Governance describes "the process of decision-making and the process by which...

 in African states, and integration of African economies in the global economy.

In the nomination of SWAPO parliamentary candidates by party delegates on October 2, 2004, Geingob, who was at the time still in Washington working for the Global Coalition for Africa, placed 28th out of 60. He then left the Global Coalition for Africa and returned to Namibia to participate in the November 2004 parliamentary election
Namibian parliamentary election, 2004
General elections were held in Namibia on 15 and 16 November 2004 to elect the President and National Assembly. The National Assembly election resulted in a landslide win for SWAPO, which won 55 of the 78 seats with over 75% of the vote. SWAPO's candidate for president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, won the...

, in which he won a seat.

Geingob became the Party Chief Whip
Chief Whip
The Chief Whip is a political office in some legislatures assigned to an elected member whose task is to administer the whipping system that ensures that members of the party attend and vote as the party leadership desires.-The Whips Office:...

 of SWAPO in the National Assembly on April 18, 2007. He was brought back into the SWAPO Politburo in mid-2007, filling one of two vacancies. In November 2007, a few weeks before a 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 November 29, 2007. This move is widely believed to mean that Geingob is intended to be the successor of Hifikepunye Pohamba
Hifikepunye Pohamba
Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba is the second and current President of Namibia. He won the 2004 and 2009 presidential elections overwhelmingly as the candidate of the South West Africa People's Organisation ruling party, taking office in March 2005. He has also been the President of SWAPO since...

 as President of Namibia. Geingob was subsequently appointed as Minister of Trade and Industry on April 8, 2008.

Personal life

Geingob married Loini Kandume, a businesswoman, on September 11, 1993 in Windhoek. This was a high-profile marriage and resulted in two children, a daughter and a son. Geingob initiated divorce proceedings against his wife in May 2006, and he was granted a provisional divorce order in July 2008. Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium
Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium
Hage Geingob Rugby Stadium is a rugby and football stadium in Windhoek, Namibia. It is named after Hage Geingob, former Vice President of Namibia.-References:...

 in Windhoek is named after him.

Awards and honours

  • In 1980, awarded the Palmes Academiques
    Palmes académiques
    The Ordre des Palmes Académiques is an Order of Chivalry of France for academics and cultural and educational figures...

     (Officer Class) by the French Government in recognition of valuable services in education.
  • In 1987, awarded Ongulumbashe Medal (SWAPO) for bravery and long service.
  • In 1994, awarded LL.D. Honoris Causa by Columbia College
    Columbia College Chicago
    Columbia College Chicago is one of the largest art colleges in the United States with nearly 12,000 students pursuing degrees within 120 undergraduate and graduate programs...

    , Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

  • In 1994, awarded the second highest order in Cuba
    The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

    , Carlos Manuel de Cespedes
    Carlos Manuel de Céspedes
    Carlos Manuel de Céspedes del Castillo was a Cuban planter who freed his slaves and made the declaration of Cuban independence in 1868 which started the Ten Years' War...

  • In 1994, awarded the Order of the Sun
    Order of the Sun
    The Order of the Sun is the highest award bestowed by the nation of Peru to commend notable civil and military merit...

    , 1st Class by the Government of Namibia for providing outstanding political leadership.
  • In 1995, awarded LL.D. (Doctorate of Laws) Honoris Causa by the University of Delhi
    University of Delhi
    The University of Delhi is a central university situated in Delhi, India and is funded by Government of India. Established in 1922, it offers courses at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari is the Chancellor of the university...

    , India.
  • In 1997, awarded LL.D. (Doctorate of Laws) Honoris Causa by the University of Namibia.
  • In 1998, awarded Doctorate of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) by the American University of Rome
    American University of Rome
    The American University of Rome is the oldest degree-granting American university in Rome, Italy. The school was founded in 1969, and has an undergraduate enrollment of around 500.The language of instruction is English....

  • In 1998, elected Chairman of the 14th Meeting of Experts on the United Nations Programme in Public Administration and Finance.
  • In 2004, appointed member of the International Board of Governors of the Centre for International Governance Innovation
    Centre for International Governance Innovation
    The Centre for International Governance Innovation is an independent, non-partisan think tank on global governance. Led by experienced practitioners and academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements...

     (CIGI) of Canada.
  • In 2006, was appointed as member of the Trustco Group Holdings board of directors - the biggest Namibian conglomerate to date.

Research activities and publications

Hage Geingob received his Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 from the University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

. His thesis was entitled "State Formation in Namibia: Promoting Democracy and Good Governance". In his thesis, he examined significant events in the process of state formation in Namibia and provided an insight into the role played by various actors involved in shaping the evolution of Namibia as a state. He also examined the efforts of Namibians to build a reconciled society out of ethnically and racially stratified, diverse and often antagonistic groups, to promote democracy and a policy of reconciliation, to improve the life condition of the previously disadvantaged groups through affirmative action, to encourage good governance
Governance is the act of governing. It relates to decisions that define expectations, grant power, or verify performance. It consists of either a separate process or part of management or leadership processes...

, to promote a culture of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, and to build state institutions to support these policies. Finally, he carried out a democratic audit of Namibia.

As the Director of the Institute for Namibia and as the Chairman of the Research Coordinating Committee, Hage Geingob oversaw all research activities at the United Nations Institute for Namibia. The result of this effort resulted in twenty-two published research studies.

He was also the Chairman of the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on Namibia, viz., Namibia: Perspectives for National Reconstruction and Development, which was undertaken by the United Nations Institute for Namibia in pursuance of the mandate given to it by the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

. This study covered all aspects of socio-economic reconstruction and development for independent Namibia. This study came to be known as the "Blue Bible", referring to the colour of its cover, among the researchers and planners of Namibia. Indeed, this study provided the blueprint for setting up the new government in independent Namibia.

In addition, Hage Geingob has contributed numerous articles to various publications, including monograph
A monograph is a work of writing upon a single subject, usually by a single author.It is often a scholarly essay or learned treatise, and may be released in the manner of a book or journal article. It is by definition a single document that forms a complete text in itself...

s, periodicals and newspaper
A newspaper is a scheduled publication containing news of current events, informative articles, diverse features and advertising. It usually is printed on relatively inexpensive, low-grade paper such as newsprint. By 2007, there were 6580 daily newspapers in the world selling 395 million copies a...


He has travelled extensively covering all the continents and has attended, chaired, and presented papers at numerous UN and other international conferences. He also regularly attended the General Assembly sessions from 1965-85.