Communities ‘disgusted’ by German apology announcement

THE Ovaherero and Nama people, under the leadership of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and the Nama Traditional Leadership Association (NTLA), say they are “disgusted” by the conduct of German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier at president Hage Geingob’s funeral.

They say they reject the speech he gave at the event “with the contempt it deserves”.

This comes after Steinmeier on Sunday said it was high time his country extended an apology to the people of Namibia for the atrocities inflicted on them during the 1904 to 1908 genocide.

The affected communities have called on Germany to acknowledge that what happened at the time was in fact a genocide, which saw about 80 000 Ovaherero and roughly 30 000 Nama die.

The critics say Germany should stop saying it was a genocide in today’s perspective, according to a draft agreement signed in 2021.

Germany also offered 1,1 billion euros in funding to Namibia over 30 years as part of this deal.

OTA chief Mutjinde Katjiua, who is also the deputy chairperson of the Joint Herero and Nama Restorative Justice Campaign, says it is unfortunate that Steinmeier chose to “use the occasion of the mourning of our dearly missed president to sell the discredited joint declaration to our nation and the world”.

Katjiua says the declaration between the two governments clearly and unequivocally negates the sovereignty of Namibia and denies Germany’s genocide on the Nama and Ovaherero people.

“Surprisingly, the German president wants to come back to Namibia to an apology, apparently to Namibians, knowing very well that the genocide was committed on the Ovaherero and Namas as per his own admission.

“What crime has Germany committed to which it wants to offer an apology?” he asks.

He says the German apology should also consider Nama and Ovaherero people in the diaspora.

Katjiua says the declaration agreed upon by the two governments is nothing other than a “get out of jail card”, and the proposed amount of money is “a disguised development aid to Namibia”.

“We shall fight against the joint declaration and pass on the torch to our children and grandchildren if need be. Betraying the blood and tears of our ancestors is not an option for us,” he says.

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