Nam Govt concedes to renegotiation calls on genocide

It has also asked that the implementation period for planned programmes is revisited, and that the affected communities are included.

This was announced by vice president Nangolo Mbumba yesterday during an update on the Namibian government’s negotiations on the reparations and apology for the genocide committed by Germany.

Debates in parliament with opposition parties influenced the government to renegotiate the amount on the table.

The National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) welcomed the move to renegotiate the amount of N$18 billion as it is “not enough”.

“But we still feel our government hasn’t gone deep enough as we wanted to call for a renegotiation on all three points we have raised,” Nudo’s secretary general Joseph Kauandenge said.

He said Germany must first acknowledge that they have indeed commited genocide.

Nudo also demanded a public apology, “something they haven’t done”.

The Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) believes the government is still far from being on the right track.

“To be on the right track, this government must reverts to the four resolutions of the original motion and implements it to the letter.

“The affected communities do not have their own representatives at the negotiating table, and the baseless amount is called a grant, and the so-called joint declaration speaks exclusively to the two German resolutions,” RDP president Mike Kavekotora said.

Mbumba yesterday said: “Following the discussions in the National Assembly, the technical committees of Namibia and Germany discussed the issues and proposed that an amendment be made to the joint declaration in the form of the addendum which was submitted to the German government in July 2022.”

Germany and Namibia have provisionally initiated a joint draft declaration detailing Germany’s offer of 1,1 billion euros, which translates to N$18,6 billion at today’s currency, to be paid over 30 years in the form of grants for projects.

“After a lengthy debate, the National Assembly raised issues in the joint declaration which were referred back to the government to be further negotiated with the German government,” Mbumba said.

The National Assembly persuaded the Namibian government to renegotiate on a number of points.

“The German government does not seem to understand and officially recognise that the atrocities committed against the Ovaherero and Nama people from 1904 to 1908 is genocide.

“The amount of 1,1 billion euro offered by the German government is not enough, and should be revisited and improved on,” Mbumba said.

The parliamentarians also took issue with the period of 30 years over which programmes will be implemented.

“The period in the joint declaration is very long, considering the amount offered and the fluctuation of interest rates,” the vice president said.

The government was also told to include the affected communities in the diaspora, “especially in Botswana and South Africa”.

The draft joint agreement also details that the project must be implemented in only seven regions of the country.

The last point of the agreement involves the reconciliation programme which will be established to promote and support reconciliation between the affected communities.

However, chief Mannasse Zeraeua, on behalf of the Chiefs’ Assembly, has rejected this agreement.

Traditional chiefs from the Maharero, Kambazembi, Gam, Zeraeua and Mireti royal houses have rejected the German government’s offer, saying they want N$8 trillion paid over 40 years, as well as a pension fund.

Zeraeua yesterday told The Namibian their members have rejected the joint declaration from the onset, which was further affirmed by an Okandjoze meeting.

The chiefs want to reshape their technical committee to accommodate everyone, he said.

“Let’s have two to three similar meetings to continue to improve the negotiations and understanding in the few terms that were raised, quantum versus agreement, is not being end [sic] of the generation, government responsibilities versus reparations,” he said.

“We hold the view that the negotiations are a process and not an end in itself.

“The Chiefs’ Assembly wants to engage with the government to negotiate on equal footing for the acceptance of genocide, apology and reparations as per the resolution passed in parliament in 2006,” Zeraeua said.

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