Genocide deal upgraded to ‘vague’ amount

…opposition slams Govt’s undisclosed amount

The Namibian and German governments have agreed to an undisclosed increase in financial support to the country, while maintaining that genocide funds should not be labelled as ‘reparations’.

The two governments have instead agreed on using the term ‘atonement of guilt’.

Vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah yesterday said the two governments erred in the joint declaration when they referred to ‘reparations’ as ‘grants’.

The government in 2022 conceded to renegotiate with Germany, with specific additions to the joint agreement after the affected communities, namely the Ovaherero and Nama communities, rejected the deal worth over N$18 billion over 30 years.

The vice president said the increase would be discussed in future.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said the additional funds would be determined according to the needs of the affected communities.

“It was agreed that the use of the term ‘grant’ in the joint declaration of 2021 . . . and rather Germany has agreed to pay for reconciliation and reconstruction programmes for the ‘atonement’ of guilt,” she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah yesterday gave the leaders of the communities affected by the 1904 to 1908 genocide feedback during a consultation meeting.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah


The German government conceded to call the historical event a genocide, dropping the words “in today’s perspective” from the declaration.

“The German government has acknowledged genocide and will deliver an unconditional apology and pay atonement to the affected communities in particular and the Namibian people in general for the 1904 to 1908 genocide,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

The joint declaration will now include that affected communities in the diaspora will benefit from both the reconstruction and reconciliation programme when they return to Namibia.

“However, those who chose not to return to Namibia will only benefit from the reconciliation programme while in their countries of domicile,” the vice president said.

The time period of 30 years for the disbursement of funds was also ridiculed by the affected communities.

“The German government has agreed to front-load the disbursement of funds, as well as to allow for flexibility in the allocation of funds to shorten the disbursement period . . . “

Nandi-Ndaitwah further cautioned traditional leaders against pinning their hopes on Germany in the face of the country’s “highly polarised” political stance on the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Ukraine.

“It is therefore important for us to pay attention and appreciate what has been achieved by these negotiations and indicate where improvements should be made if necessary,” she said.

National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi, who also addressed the chiefs yesterday, said the amount was the “biggest elephant in the room”.

McHenry Venaani


National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) lawmaker Joseph Kauandenge says his party cannot be optimistic about Germany delivering on its promises due to the country’s past reluctance to use the term ‘genocide’.

“On the question of the amount, the wording of the text is very vague. It is not clear when and how this amount would be increased and by how much.

“As a community we have been at pains to demand that this amount agreed on is not sufficient for the acts committed,” he says.
Kauandenge asked how long the disbursement of these funds would take.

Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani says Nandi-Ndaitwah’s sentiments are “distasteful”.

He says she should not force a deal without obtaining figures on the affected communities.

“They are selling us out. They are selling Namibians out.”

Venaani says Germany is playing cat and mouse regarding the genocide.

He says the negotiating team is weak and needs political leadership.

“We must get someone with political bravura [brilliance]. Someone who will either get a deal or no deal. You can’t want to accept genocide, accept apology and not want to atone, not want to commit yourself to a figure,” he says.

Landless People’s Movement’s Joyce Muzengua, from the party’s human rights desk, maintains an anti-joint declaration position based on fundamental arguments, such as the contravention of the Namibian Constitution.

Muzengua said the diasporans were not part of the negotiation process.

“Who consulted the diaspora?” she asked.

Mutjinde Katjiua


The Okandjoze Chief Assembly on Genocide rejected an invitation by Nandi-Ndaitwah to attend yesterday’s consultation meeting.

The assembly’s senior council, Maria Katjaita, addressed the media on Tuesday, saying the assembly wants the government to rather have a national conference to discuss the deals reached by negotiation teams.

The government hosted a meeting with the traditional leaders of the affected communities yesterday.

Ovaherero Traditional Authority group paramount chief Mutjinde Katjiua says the authority has snubbed a meeting with the government because it needs clear guidance on what genocide actually is, the government’s stance on the matter and the way forward.

Speaking to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation’s Otjiherero show ‘Keetute’, Katjiua said the genocide is a crime committed by Germany against the Nama and Ovaherero communities.

The chief said the affected communities should have been included in the negotiations from the onset.

He said the agreement should also see to it that Germany returns what it has “stolen from the people it killed” or rebuild the culture of the affected communities.

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