Germany must stop trying to pay peanuts – Venaani

Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Ppopular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani says it’s one thing for Germany to indicate it should apologise for the 1904-1908 genocide and another for the former colonial power to pay Namibians peanuts.

His remarks follow comments by German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier at president Hage Geingob’s final memorial service at the Independence Stadium on Saturday.

Steinmeier said it was high time that his nation extends an apology to the people of Namibia for the atrocities inflicted upon them during the 1904-1908 genocide.

“I hope I will be able to return to his country. I believe it is high time to tender an apology to Namibia. My only regret is that Geingob will not be there to close the process he started,” Steinmeier said.

Namibians have long demanded that Germany apologise and pay reparations for the genocide it perpetrated against Namibia. Steinmeier highlighted Geingob’s courageous efforts to address the atrocities committed by German forces, acknowledging the challenging nature of this reconciliation process.

“When I talked to Geingob for the last time last year, he spoke of his wish for the conclusion of the genocide negotiations. We are committed to the path of reconciliation. It is not about closing the past. It is about taking responsibility for this past and committing to a better future,” Steinmeier said.

He made his remarks after Venaani, on the same platform, called on him to create a respectable deal on the genocide once back in Germany.

Venaani yesterday reiterated his viewpoint, saying Namibian’s don’t have an issue with accepting an apology from Germany but the country should acknowledge that what happened was a genocide and pay reparations. He alleged that Germany is under negotiating with Namibia.

“It’s one thing to ask to give an apology and try to pay peanuts. That is what they are trying to do all along. We will not accept anything less than a respectable deal to our people. The truth is, Germany is under negotiating with us because we are blacks.

An apology must be in tandem with reparations and reparations must be costed on what we have lost,” he said.

Nama Traditional Leaders Association Association (NTLA) technical committee on genocide international relations coordinator Sima Luipert said the joint declaration doesn’t acknowledge that any crime was committed.

She added that the entire document insults the Nama and Ovaherero people.

“What we as Namibians fail to understand is that ‘genocide from today’s perspective’, a phrase consistently and formally used by all German officials, has legal implications of conditionality. Germany has never taken any legal responsibility. Germany has also never admitted that the crime was an instruction by the German state,” she told The Namibian yesterday. “Why then would he think an apology based on a false historical narrative would be accepted?”
Luipert reiterated the call for the German government to directly engage the Nama people through their rightful representatives.

“Until then, his diplomatic charade will remain just that… an empty whitewashing gaslighting rhetoric…”

Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said the German president offering to apologise is a good move but it should be an authentic apology that speaks to restorative justice, acknowledes that what happened was in fact a genocide and speak to giving reparations.

He further said Steinmeier was preaching to the wrong crowd and should have spoken to descendants of the genocide victims. Kamwanyah added that the genocide process should not merely be driven by Germany for it to close the chapter.

“It must also be linked to the aspect of restorative justice, in the sense of reparations, because Germany has been evading to be accountable, to either acknowledge that the genocide happened or to talk about reparations. And we have seen that the current agreement with the Namibian government does not talk about reparations.”

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News