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Theo-Ben Gurirab

The Honorable
Theo-Ben Gurirab
Speaker of the National Assembly
In office
20 March 2005 – 20 March 2015
President Hifikepunye Pohamba
Preceded by Mose Penaani Tjitendero
Succeeded by Peter Katjavivi
2nd Prime Minister of Namibia
In office
28 August 2002 – 19 March 2005
President Sam Nujoma
Preceded by Hage Geingob
Succeeded by Nahas Angula
President of the United Nations General Assembly
In office
Preceded by Didier Opertti
Succeeded by Harri Holkeri
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
21 March 1990 – 26 August 2002
President Sam Nujoma
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Hidipo Hamutenya
Personal details
Born (1939-01-23) 23 January 1939
Usakos, Erongo Region
Nationality Namibian
Political party SWAPO
Spouse(s) Joan Guriras
Children 2
Occupation Politician
Profession Teacher
Religion Christian

Theo-Ben Gurirab (born 23 January 1939) is a Namibian politician who served as the second Prime Minister of Namibia between 27 August 2002 and 19 March 2005, following the dismissal of Hage Geingob. Previously he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1990 to 2002, and during that time he was President of the United Nations General Assembly from 1999 to 2000. He was Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia from 2005 to 2015.[1]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Political career 2
  • Awards 3
  • References 4

Early life and education

Gurirab was born in Usakos in the Erongo Region.[1] In 1960 he obtained a teaching Diploma from the Augustineum Training College in Okahandja, and in 1964 while in exile in the United States he graduated with a degree in Political Science from the Temple University in Pennsylvania.[2]

Political career

In exile from 1962 to 1989, he was Associate Representative of the SWAPO Mission to United Nations and United States from 1964 to 1972, then Head of the SWAPO Mission to the United Nations from 1972 to 1986. Subsequently he was SWAPO's Secretary for Foreign Affairs from 1986 to 1990.[1]

He was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990, immediately prior to independence,[3] and the "key drafter"[2] of Namibia's Constitution. Since 1990 he has been a member of the National Assembly,[1] as well as Central Committee and Politburo of SWAPO.[2] He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from independence in 1990 until he was appointed as Prime Minister by President Sam Nujoma on 27 August 2002, replacing Hage Geingob.[4]

While serving as Foreign Minister, he was elected as the President of the United Nations General Assembly on 14 September 1999, serving in that position until September 2000.[5]

Following the 2004 election, Gurirab was elected as Speaker of the National Assembly at the beginning of the new parliamentary term on 20 March 2005.[1][6]

He received the sixth highest number of votes—377—in the election to the Central Committee of SWAPO at the party's August 2002 congress.[7] He was again one of the highest scoring candidates in the election to the Central Committee at SWAPO's November 2007 congress.[8]

From 2008 to 2011,[9] Gurirab was the President of the

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Didier Opertti Badan
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by
Harri Holkeri
Political offices
Preceded by
Hage Geingob
Prime Minister of Namibia
Succeeded by
Nahas Angula
  1. ^ a b c d e Profile at Namibian Parliament website.
  2. ^ a b c d e Liswaniso, Mwaka (18 July 2014). "Theo-Ben Gurirab (1938 ...) An educator, politician and diplomat".  
  3. ^ List of members of the Constituent Assembly, Namibian Parliament website.
  4. ^ Christof Maletsky (28 August 2002): "Nujoma shuffles the Cabinet pack", The Namibian via
  5. ^ Peter Mwaura, "Namibian to lead UN General Assembly", Africa Recovery, volume 13 #2–3 (September 1999), page 4.
  6. ^ "New Parliament Takes Office in Namibia", VOA News, 20 March 2005.
  7. ^ "The ruling party's new Central Committee", The Namibian, 27 August 2002.
  8. ^ Christof Maletsky, "Swapo big names dropped", The Namibian, 3 December 2007.
  9. ^ a b c d e "Theo-Ben Gurirab IPU President 2008–2011".  
  10. ^ "IPU chief condemns undemocratic transition of power in Madagascar".  
  11. ^ John Ekongo, "New MPs take their seats", New Era, 23 March 2010.
  12. ^ "Swapo undergoes massive transition... Complete overhaul in parliamentary ranks", New Era, 1 September 2014.
  13. ^ "Katjavivi vows to keep MPs in line", The Namibian, 23 March 2015.



In late August 2014, when SWAPO chose its list of parliamentary candidates for the November 2014 general election, Gurirab failed to win a spot on the list.[12] When the National Assembly began meeting for its new term on 20 March 2015, Gurirab was succeeded as Speaker by Peter Katjavivi.[13]

Gurirab was re-elected to the National Assembly in the November 2009 parliamentary election, in which SWAPO retained a large majority of seats. When the MPs took their seats for the new parliamentary term on 19 March 2010, they unanimously re-elected Gurirab to his post as Speaker of the National Assembly. Speaking on that occasion, Guiriab stressed the importance of the Constitution: "As one of its authors, and among the longest serving public officials, and founders of our Republic, I know of the highest vision the Constitution provides for Namibia, as well as the promise of national unity, reconciliation, democracy, the rule of law, human dignity, socio-economic emancipation and the commitment to protect the gains of our long and bitter struggle for liberation and independence."[11]


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