Political analysts are calling on president Hage Geingob to step down to attend to his health.
Debate on the president’s fitness to hold office has been triggered after medical tests confirmed that Geingob (82) has “cancerous cells”.
Political analyst Erica Thomas yesterday said Geingob should consider resigning as president because of his medical condition and allow the vice president to act.
“He should think about himself, his health, country and his family. At his age, it would be better if he relinquished that position and allowed somebody else, even the vice president, to act while he is trying to look after his health,” she said.
Thomas said a person who is not healthy is unable to perform his or her duties.
“If you are not healthy you cannot look after other people. His advisers should advise him to take a break, because he is close to exiting State House. Why should he be there when he is not feeling well?” she asked.
Another political analyst, Rui Tyitende, also advises Geingob to step down.
“He should actually just reshuffle the Cabinet, appoint whoever he wants as the vice president and then step down,” he says.
He say the current vice president is also not fit to hold office due to old age.
Tyitende says the president should not take chances with running the country and should consider appointing someone with a clear plan on what can be achieved until the next president takes over.
“Nangolo Mbumba is also of old age and we all know what biology does to people at that particular age. So do we want to risk that?
“Maybe he should appoint someone who is younger, someone with the ability to steer this country forward until the next elections, or until the next president is elected to office,” he says.
Last Friday the Presidency announced that Geingob would undertake appropriate medical treatment to deal with “cancerous cells”.
During this period, State House said the president would continue to perform his presidential duties alongside the Cabinet.
“With presidential and National Assembly elections programmed for the end of the 2024, the Presidency wishes to inform the Namibian public that president Geingob will continue to carry out presidential duties, alongside the Cabinet, of which he is the chairperson,” the statement read.
In 2023 Geingob underwent an aortic operation in South Africa, but returned to office immediately.
Last year political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah also proposed that Geingob make an informed decision about his health.
“The Presidency is not really more important than an individual’s health, than the president’s health. So, I think he should listen to his health,” he said.
This is after a video of the president circulated on social media showing Geingob looking strained during the singing of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) anthem at the 43rd ordinary SADC summit in Angola.
Swapo’s secretary general, , has expressed concerns over the timing of analysts’ calls.
She says decisions regarding the president’s future should be in accordance with the Constitution, rather than individual opinions.
“We have a constitution that is governing this country, and everything must be done in accordance with the Constitution – not because people want this and that,” she says.
She stresses the need to provide Geingob with the opportunity to recover and calls for the nation’s unity and support.
“I’m wishing all the strength, health, a quick and fast recovery to our head of state. This is not the time to force pain into a human life. This is the time for us to be with a person who is in pain, to see to it that we support him morally, spiritually and physically.
“We have to be there for the person, instead of making the person think twice as to what is going to happen. Could they please give the president a chance to recover?” Shaningwa asks.
Landless People’s Movement (LPM) parliamentarian Henny Seibeb yesterday wished Geingob well.
He commended the president for being transparent about his health.
“It’s not only for the sake of governance of the country, it’s also to encourage all men to go for testing, especially for prostate testing, once they reach the age of 35 or 40. Early detection is better, then you receive better treatment,” Seibeb said.
Geingob has on numerous occasions admitted that he is not well.
In 2014, Geingob revealed that he has survived prostate cancer.
Last year during his annual briefing on the year in retrospect at State House he told reporters he has to hold onto something on the plane whenever he is travelling, since he has become frail.
“You see how I’m standing here? It means I’m tired and I’m not feeling well.
“A plane like this small plane of ours is shaking and I see it and when it moves, I am holding onto something. You think I’m enjoying it?” Geingob said.
According to Article 34 of the Namibian Constitution, the vice president, prime minister, deputy prime minister or a person appointed by the Cabinet should run the Office of the President if the president himself is unable to fulfil the duties of the office until he is able to resume office.
Should Geingob opt to resign from office a year before the date on which presidential elections are required to be held, the vacancy should be filled in accordance with the provisions of Article 34.
Geingob’s press secretary, Alfredo Hengari, did not respond to a text message sent to him yesterday.
Cancer survivor doctor Kagiso Moloi commended Geingob for coming out in about his health.
He said if the cancerous cells are still in stage one or two, they are curable, however, if they are in the third stage, they are at an advanced stage and that part of the organ that has cancerous cells could be removed.
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