The Ovaherero and Nama communities have called on president Hage Geingob to demonstrate his commitment to addressing reparations for Germany’s 1904-1908 genocide by taking legal action in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
Pointing to Geingob’s rejection of Germany’s support for Israel’s “genocidal” actions in Gaza, the Ovaherero Traditional Authorities (OTA) and the Nama Leaders Association (NLA) issued a joint statement urging Geingob to take assertive legal action.
“Hage Geingob, just as you support South Africa in taking Israel to the ICJ in support of the Palestinian people, support us the Nama and Ovaherero people to take Germany to the ICJ for genocide committed by Germany against the Nama and Ovaherero people,” notes the statement.
The communities say that Germany’s support for Israeli “genocide” against the Palestinian people has confirmed the continued “colonial agenda of the modern state of Germany”.
“Clearly the Namibian government only supports Germany in exchange for little jacked-up financial resources to its wooed budget and the most laughable promises of economic spin-offs from ‘green’ hydrogen energy production,” the statement said.
While welcoming the condemnation of the Namibian government against Israel and Germany, the communities say they find it awkward to understand how the Namibian government protects Germany over Nama and Ovaherero citizens.
“The same Namibia which now condemns Israel and Germany has denied the Ovaherero and Nama people meaningful participation rights in negotiations about genocide with Germany,” notes the statement.
In response to inquiries about the course of action following Geingob’s Friday statement denouncing Germany’s support for Israel, presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari directed The Namibian to the official statement, stating that they have “no comment to offer regarding social commentators”.
NLA spokesperson Sima Luipert reiterated the call for Geingob to discard the Joint Declaration, a longstanding request made by the Nama and Ovaherero leaders.
“While we welcome the position regarding Palestinian genocide, it will remain political rhetoric unless he returns to the 2006 Namibian parliamentary resolution. We hope the Presidency has now seen that Germany was never serious in truly and genuinely coming to terms with its colonial skeletons,” Luipert said.
Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Maximalliant Katjimune said the party embraces and aligns itself with the presidential stance concerning Germany’s position on Israel’s conflict in Gaza.
Given Germany’s historical role as the aggressor in two genocides, including the near eradication of the Ovaherero and Nama people in Namibia, Katjimune stressed the significance of Germany refraining from making insensitive statements.
“So, apart from the issuance of such statements, the Namibian government must take meaningful and radical steps to get proper atonement and reparations for the Ovaherero and Nama people, otherwise such statements are part of the wind and meaningless,” Katjimune said.
GERMANY’S SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL
The German embassy has not yet responded to Geingob’s rebuttal of its support for Israel.
In a statement on Friday, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said Israel was defending itself in response to attacks by Hamas on 7 October.
Hebestreit said considering Germany’s history and the crimes of the Holocaust, the German government is particularly dedicated to upholding the United Nations Genocide Convention, which was signed in 1948 in the aftermath of the Holocaust.
“The German government decisively and expressly rejects the accusation of genocide brought against Israel before the ICJ,” Hebestreit said. “The accusation has no basis in fact.”
Participating as a third party in South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ enables Germany to present written or oral arguments on its interpretation of the Genocide Convention.
During his visit to Israel last week, German vice chancellor Robert Habeck said while criticism can be directed at the Israeli military for employing stringent measures in the Gaza Strip, such actions do not amount to genocide.
“Those who would commit genocide are desired to do so if, given the opportunity, are Hamas. The annihilation of the State of Israel is on their agenda. We can understand the slogan ‘from the river to the sea’ does not mean that Jews should leave Israel by boat, but as an extinction fantasy,” Habeck said.
Habeck said accusing Israel of genocide is a complete distortion of victims and perpetrators.
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