Theo-Ben Gurirab

May 20, 2013, 8:52 am

Theo-Ben Gurirab (born January 23, 1939) is a Namibian politician and former Prime Minister of Namibia as well as President of the United Nations General Assembly. He is the Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia since 2005.
Political career
Gurirab was born in Usakos in Erongo Region.[1] 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.
He was a SWAPO member of the Constituent Assembly, which was in place from November 1989 to March 1990, immediately prior to independence, and since 1990 he has been a member of the National Assembly. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from independence in 1990 until he was appointed as Prime Minister by President Sam Nujoma on August 27, 2002, replacing Hage Geingob.[3]
While serving as Foreign Minister, he was elected as the President of the United Nations General Assembly on September 14, 1999, serving in that position until September 2000.
Following the 2004 election, Gurirab was elected as Speaker of the National Assembly at the beginning of the new parliamentary term on March 20, 2005.
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. He was again one of the highest scoring candidates in the election to the Central Committee at SWAPO's November 2007 congress.
As of April 2009, Gurirab is the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organization of parliaments of sovereign states.
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."