‘Conflicted’ Muinjangue removed from genocide role

31 March 2020 | Cultural

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK

The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) has recalled Ester Muinjangue as the chairperson of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation (OGF), following her appointment as deputy health minister by President Hage Geingob.

The authority said this position will expose her to an “incurable” conflict of interest between her role as a genocide campaigner and her ministerial obligations.

Muinjangue has been replaced by OGF patron Festus Muundjua, who will act in the position while consultations are underway to appoint a substantive chairperson.

Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro emphasised the stance of the OTA, the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) and the Nama Genocide Technical Committee (NGTC) is diametrically opposed to government’s position on genocide issues and its reparation campaign.

Leadership-driven campaigns

“To our detractors who are celebrating that Dr Muinjangue’s ministerial job will mean that our genocide campaign ‘is now effectively dead as she will be silenced’, I wish to disappoint them by advising that the campaign has always been leadership-driven. Traditional leaders will continue to direct directives by the leaders of the OTA and NTLA,” Rukoro said in a statement.

This position was supported by Gaob Johannes Isaack of the NTLA, who commended Muinjangue for her contribution towards the fight for reparations.

“We want to believe that her sudden departure will not mean the abandonment of allegiance to the Ovaherero and Nama cause. As for us, we will continue insisting on an end to the cynical exclusion of the rightful leaders from the genocide negotiations by the Namibian government, which intentionally clouds the public’s ability to discern the truth, through falsely parading Swapo political allies as traditional representatives of the victim communities,” Johannes added.