Namibian opposition rejects German offer on genocide

2021-10-02 16:10:25
Namibian opposition rejects German offer on genocide

A leading Namibian opposition party has resoundingly rejected the genocide pact between his country and Germany, saying the agreement was not negotiated in good faith between the two countries.

Josef Kauandenge, leader of the National Unity Democratic Organization (NUDO) made his contribution during the ongoing debate on the motion in the country’s National Assembly.

"Our inalienable rights of self-determination and self-representation in line with the Namibian constitution and applicable United Nations conventions, to which both the Republic of Namibia and the Federal Republic of Germany are signatories, as well as international law principles, have been infringed upon by being excluded from participation and deciding on the course of action in our case," he said.

Speaking on Wednesday, he further stated that comprehensive compensation must be applied to address permanent damages as the destruction of families and community structures, the consequent systematic intergenerational poverty, and the ongoing psychological trauma can never be rectified.

"The expropriation of all moveable and immovable properties of the Nama and Herero people, including ancestral land taken through the imperial decree, must be redressed through the principle of restitution before compensation," he emphasized.

Kauandenge said the current deal of 1.1 billion euros (about N$18 billion) in project funding over 30 years is very much dead on arrival in any respect as the amount does not take into account the suffering, and loss of life and land by the affected communities.

"Some officials in government circles want to tell us that they hunted for a kudu and they came back with a mouse, and we should accept that mouse because it is better than nothing. We say no to that mouse because the mouse is insufficient for our household, as once cooked, there will be kids who won't have a taste of it," he charged.

Germany's refusal to call their atrocities a genocide furthermore leaves a bad taste in the mouths of the affected communities.

The Member of Parliament thus appealed to fellow lawmakers not to politicize the matter, but to work to reach a collective agreement for the benefit of Namibians and affected communities.

The southern African country’s government started negotiations with its former colonizer Germany in 2015 over the 1904-1908 massacre of Herero and Nama people for rebelling against their rulers.

Historians say some 65,000 of the 85,000 Herero and at least 10,000 of the 20,000 Nama living there at the time were killed.

Many see overt racism in how Germany has dealt with its genocide crimes in Namibia and the issue of the compensation.

The Herero and Nama see a contrast between how Germany approached this genocide and how it handled reparations with the Jews after World War II. Germany has negotiated with the Jewish Claims Conference, founded by representatives of 23 Jewish groups, to provide indemnification worth $80 billion since 1952 to Jews from around the globe.

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