THE populist, unprincipled and disrespectful manner in which the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement under the leadership of Job Amupanda are attempting to hijack the Genocide Remembrance Day has come under severe fire from the South West African National (SWANU) Party.
According to statement by Namibia’s oldest political party the AR’s attempt to hijack the national undertaking, even going so far as to determine a date unilaterally with the ostensible blessings of OvaHerero Paramount Chief Vekuui Rukoro is an affront that the party shall not brook, nor tolerate.
“The quasi-fascist enterprise of the AR and its audacity to attempt to dictate the terms in respect of this patriotic and unifying undertaking should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves by all peace loving and patriotic Namibians. We condemn this reactionary impostor and political dilettante and his attempt to hijack a truly national and unifying project and call on government to expedite the finalisation of this very important national project through proper consultation and genuine engagement.”
The full statement reads as follows;
SWANU of Namibia has taken note of the preposterous, shameless and opportunistic conduct and pronouncements of the AR phenomenon on a Genocide Remembrance Day first mooted, introduced and tabled as a parliamentary motion by the former president of the party and Honourable Member of Parliament, Cde. Usutuaije Maamberua, on 26 April 2016.
The purpose of the motion was for the National Assembly to discuss and debate, and through a Standing Committee of Parliament to consult the affected communities and the relevant authorities so as to determine, and to cause the enactment or declaration of a Genocide Remembrance or Memorial Day as a vital step in building a common national identity and patriotic consciousness and an indispensable act towards genuine reconciliation, justice, restitution and equity.
Remembrance Day is an important occasion to remember the lives that were lost, to show solidarity with the descendants of the victims, unite, and to ensure genocide never happens again in Namibia, Africa or elsewhere. At the time of the tabling of the motion Cde. Maamberua said: “The enactment or declaration of a Genocide Remembrance Day will constitute an invaluable super-brick to the construction and sustainability of the now proverbial Namibian House propounded by His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia. It will cement unity among our people as it would solidify genocide memory in the national psyche as compared to the current disjointed tribally-based remembrance activities happening variously over the country, and mostly attended only by specific communities.”
The motion was preceded by a unanimous vote by parliament in support of the Genocide and Reparation motion tabled before it by the late Paramount Chief, Kuaima Riruako, 14 years ago. The populist, unprincipled and disrespectful manner in which the AR and Job Amupanda are attempting to hijack this national undertaking, even going so far as to determine a date unilaterally with the ostensible blessings of OvaHerero Paramount Chief Vekuui Rukoro is an affront that we shall not brook, nor tolerate.
We are unimpressed by the shenanigans and political brinkmanship of Job Amupanda and his reactionary outfit and advise him to desist from his deplorable antics forthwith. When SWANU of Namibia tabled the motion, our position was predicated upon the element of denialism, as a sure indicator of the potential for further acts of genocide. Amupanda should fear to tread where angels fear to tread. This is what those who studied and researched Genocide warned against, including Cde. Maamberua: “When you see a snake slither with so much grace and swagger, there are many internal limbs at work, invisible to the eyes of the average beholder.”
We can see the limbs of reaction and division and an agenda, which threatens peace and stability in Namibia. It is our view that the enactment or declaration of a Genocide Remembrance Day should enjoy the undivided unanimity imbued with a resolute spirit of patriotic duty that will allow us to reach a consensus on the most suitable date to be chosen as the National Genocide Remembrance Day. In the spirit of ONE NAMIBIA, ONE NATION it is proposed that the date of May 28th be the National Genocide Remembrance Day. Reason being that official and formal closure to the OvaHerero and Nama Genocide episode was effected on 28 May 1908, when all concentration camps in Namibia were ordered to close.
The quasi-fascist enterprise of the AR and its audacity to attempt to dictate the terms in respect of this patriotic and unifying undertaking, should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves by all peace loving and patriotic Namibians. We condemn this reactionary impostor and political dilettante and his attempt to hijack a truly national and unifying project and call on government to expedite the finalisation of this very important national project through proper consultation and genuine engagement.
We should not be seen to deny our own history. Ironically, genocides are remembered in several countries around the world and include the 1915 Armenian Genocide (April 24): the Jewish Holocaust of 1933-1945 and the Liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (January 27), observed by many European countries, including Germany, and the Rwanda Genocide of 1994 (April 7).
The overall objectives of the proposed enactment or declaration of a Genocide Remembrance Day are, inter alia, to:
1. Recognize that the OvaHerero and Nama genocides were the first tragically defining episodes of the twentieth century, a crisis of European civilization, and a universal catastrophe for humanity;
2. Provide a national mark of respect for all victims of Germany’s persecution, and demonstrate understanding with all those who still suffer its consequences;
3. Raise awareness and understanding of the events of the genocide as a continuing issue of fundamental importance for all humanity;
4. Ensure that the horrendous crimes, racism and victimization that occurred during the OvaHerero and Nama genocides are neither forgotten nor repeated, whether in Namibia, Africa or elsewhere;
5. Restate the continuing need for vigilance in light of the troubling repetition of human tragedies in the world today;
6. Provide a national focus for educating subsequent generations about the OvaHerero and Nama genocides, and the continued relevance of the lessons that are learned from them.
Our’s is a call to patriotic duty, addressed to all those who have seen or heard of that place, the place at the limit of human experience, the Nama and OvaHerero genocides, to tell the truth, to inform, to teach, to learn, to reveal the truth, and to display it for posterity and future generations. We proclaim to the world and let Germany hear us, let AR and Amupanda hear us as we speak with one voice, saying never, never and never ever again!