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Ovaherero chiefs call for genocide reparation payment halt

Ovaherero chiefs call for genocide reparation payment halt

Zorena Jantze


FOUR chiefs representing various Ovaherero and Ovambanderu communities have called on President Hage Geingob to halt the ongoing reparation agreements for the Nama and Ovaherero Genocide of 1904 to 1907, as the agreement does not speak to the affected communities.


The letter was penned to president Geingob by Chief Turimuro Hoveka of the Hoveka Traditional Authority, Chief Sam Kambazembi of the Kambazembi Traditional Authority, Paramount Chief Aletha Nguvauva of the Ovambanderu Traditional Council and Chief Rafael Kapia of the Zeraeua Traditional Authority.


The chiefs noted that it is their considered and informed opinion that the Joint Declaration by the Federal Republic
of Germany and the Republic of Namibia only speaks to the two governments, and in the case of Namibia does not speak to the affected communities on whose behalf the Namibian government is supposed to have been speaking.


The chiefs further stated that it is their strong belief that the Declaration was crafted by Germany with little or no input by Namibia and thus resultantly the Declaration is blatantly more a refection of the interests of Germany than the interests of Namibia, and even less so the interests of the affected communities, notably the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama people.


“This agreement is clearly borne out by reference in the Declaration to the Resolutions of the Bundestag of
1989 and 2004 while well confirming the special historical and moral responsibility towards Namibia, there is little evidence even in the Declaration itself of any direct commitment from Germany to the affected communities as it would have been the case between a victim and a perpetrator who is showing contrition.


While we are made to believe that the government of the Federal Republic of Germany has accepted its historical and moral responsibility towards Namibia, it actually stops short of recognising the genocide committed against our forebears with reference to Genocide only refers to it in passing in the document but not as a matter of fact,” the chiefs said.


Ovaherero chiefs reparation payment halt Ovambanderu President Hage Geingob Nama Ovaherero Genocide speak communities


They further noted that this adds insult to injury as Germany’s parliament, during 2016, overwhelmingly voted that the mass killing of Armenians during 1915 by the Ottoman Turks was Genocide.


“Hence, it is our opinion, that the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, was not mandated to negotiate on Genocide, in the absence of a resolution from the Bundestag, whereas the Namibian Government and representatives of the affected communities sole mandate was to negotiate on Genocide and Reparations,” the chiefs stressed.


They further said that a meagre amount of 1.1 billion Euros is being offered, not as reparations but as a grant in aid and assistance of development projects in the political regions or areas of the affected communities, thus putting the emphasises on regions and not the victim communities.


“This affirms that the mandate of the Federal Government of Germany emanates from the two aforementioned Bundestag resolutions. It is also our considered and informed opinion any reparations should spread over generations, such as two to three generations or 60 to 90 years, which is not the case with the grant by Germany. The Declaration is purportedly seeking to address ills committed close to 120 years ago with ramifications still being felt today,” the chiefs continued.


The chiefs this appealed to President Geingob that the Agreement needs serious rethinking, if not recalibration, first among the affected communities themselves.


“Informed by the groundswell sentiments of not only the affected communities we represent, who have expressed serious reservations to total rejection of the agreement, and also in view of the international analysts and experts who have widely dismissed the agreement as nothing but whitewash, plus the fact that the entire negotiations have been shrouded in secrecy that the public carry little insight about it, we wish at this point to humbly appeal to His Excellency, and at the same time advise him to summon his wisdom and judiciousness in this regard so that this process be paused for a proper inclusive review process with the ultimate intent of bringing sanity to what has been seeming largely and insane and illegitimate process,” the chiefs concluded.


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