Broke government eyes reparation money: Rukoro

Two traditional authorities say the genuine representatives of the Nama and Ovaherero communities were sidelined from the discussions between Namibia and Germany.

27 May 2021 | Cultural

NAMPA

WINDHOEK

The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) have rejected the purported deal struck by the Namibian and German governments over reparation payments relating to the 1904-1908 genocide.

According to the two groups, the Namibian government’s chief concern in the reparation talks is to land its hands on the reparation monies to implement its developmental goals instead of genuinely addressing the plights of communities massacred by Germany between 1904 and 1908.

This was said by OTA Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro at a media conference in the capital yesterday.

He said from the onset, the genuine representatives of the Nama and Ovaherero communities were sidelined from the discussion table because they “are black and African”.

“It’s a racist policy that successive German governments have continued to implement for the past 100 years. The Namibian government has also refused to include us because they don’t want these resources to reach the rightful people,” he charged.

Through their traditional leaders, the Nama and Herero people have always advocated for a tripartite negotiation that would see the German government, affected communities and the Namibian government sit around the table to chart a way forward on the genocide matter.

“The German government is behaving like crooks… we have the full power of attorney to represent our people. Hage Geingob and Government have no mandate to represent us,” he said.

No deal

NTLA’s Johannes Isaaks echoed his sentiments, saying the German government would be naïve to believe that the genocide and reparation talks are complete.

“The agreement came as a surprise but anything without us is against us. We have to keep on fighting. Stand firm for the cause of justice,” Isaaks said.

Rukoro added that it was painful that the Namibian government was willing to settle for any deal presented to them by Germany.

“That is absolute nonsense,” fumed Rukoro.

“Land was taken away without compensation. We suffered cultural genocide. We cannot rejoice. We have been betrayed by our government,” he said.

The traditional authorities vowed to intensify their fight by internationalising it and fighting from all fronts possible.

The purported agreement comes one month after premier Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told Parliament that Namibian authorities were looking to canvas for German-funded developmental projects as a way of moving forward as no reparation agreement was in place.

She maintained that Namibia was unrepentant in not giving up on getting an apology, atonement and reparations from Germany for the atrocities it meted out against the two communities.

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