Inside the German-Namibia genocide deal
Granular details have emerged regarding the genocide settlement declaration reached between the governments of Namibia and Germany.
03 June 2021 | Local News
Seven regions to benefit
Damara and San included
Separate N$838m agreed
Land acquisition on agenda
Seven Namibian regions - Erongo, Hardap, //Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa - have been exclusively identified for unique reconstruction and development support programmes as part of the deal reached with Germany over crimes of genocide.
Such development would include land acquisition within the framework of the Namibian Constitution, and land development, agriculture, rural livelihoods and natural resources, rural infrastructure, energy and water supply, technical and vocational education and training.
This is according to the joint declaration between the two governments, seen by Namibian Sun, and from which Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is expected to derive her opening speech to Parliament next week.
While the much-maligned N$18.6 billion agreed between the two governments will go towards “the reconstruction and development support programme for the benefit of the descendants of the particularly affected communities”, an additional N$838 million will be dedicated to projects on reconciliation, remembrance, research and education, the declaration said.
“The governing and implementation structures for both programmes will operate on the basis of the principles of equal partnership, joint decision-taking, good governance and transparency as well as affected community participation,” the document further stated.
Both Namibia and Germany have agreed that these amounts settle all financial aspects of the issues relating to genocide, although communities this week called for a renegotiation of the amounts to be paid.
Sources in the Namibian government told Namibian Sun this week that the settlement is seen as a significant political victory by Namibia, especially the admission by Germany that the atrocities in which 85 000 people died constituted genocide.
Namibian communities whose kith and kin were butchered indiscriminately by colonial Germany are demanding N$8 trillion in reparations, saying that would make up not only for the lives lost but also for land lost.
The declaration itself conceded that “in the aftermath of the war, large swathes of territory, constituting ancestral land historically inhabited by and belonging to indigenous communities, were seized and occupied by the German state”.
“These actions led to the expulsion and displacement of indigenous communities from their ancestral lands. In some cases, communities were forced out of what today is Namibia itself and have remained uprooted to this day.”
It is believed that over 15 million hectares of land was taken away from the Ovaherero and Nama communities, and much of that land is today occupied by descendants of German invaders, who are now Namibians.
“Furthermore, human remains of members of indigenous communities were removed unlawfully and shipped to Germany for pseudo-scientific racial purity and eugenic ‘research’ without respect for human dignity, cultural and religious beliefs and practices,” the declaration read.
“The shipments also included cultural artefacts of these communities. Overall, tens of thousands of men, women and children were subjected to the orders and associated German policies. They were shot, hanged, burned, starved, experimented on, enslaved, worked to death, abused, raped and dispossessed - not only of their land, property and livestock, but also of their rights and dignity.”
It further stated that “a large number of the Damara and San communities were also exterminated”.
“On the same basis, Germany accepts a moral, historical and political obligation to tender an apology for this genocide and subsequently provide the necessary means for reconciliation and reconstruction.”
According to the declaration, a bi-national commission will be established to consolidate a lasting political framework for the consolidation of relations between Germany and Namibia.