Old guard will fail us on genocide: Amupanda

Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda believes it is time for the youth to take ownership of the genocide reparations process.

23 September 2021 | Politics

NAMPA

WINDHOEK

Windhoek mayor Job Amupanda says it will be a travesty for young Namibians to leave the genocide negotiations to the old guard, saying it will hit a cul-de-sac and restorative justice for the crimes committed by colonial Germany will remain a pipe-dream.

For Amupanda, it is time for the young descendants of the genocide victims to take ownership of the process, if securing a respectable deal is anything to go by.

He said the rest of Namibia, including those not directly impacted by genocide, should rally behind the affected communities, noting that genocide is a national issue.

The youthful politician made these comments outside the National Assembly (NA) chambers on Tuesday, when over 300 Namibians thronged to the assembly during a demonstration aimed at rejecting the N$19 billion offered to Namibia by Germany.

Their petition was received by deputy NA speaker Loide Kasingo on behalf of the Speaker, Peter Katjivivi.

The hotly contested and widely rejected offer is currently before parliament for ratification.

The demonstration was organised by traditional authorities and political formations, including the Landless People’s Movement (LPM), Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo), Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) and Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

They collectively rejected the deal.

Youth matters

But for Amupanda, whether the deal in its current format is collapsed or bulldozed through will depend heavily on the role of young people.

“One of the first things that need to be clear here, particularly to 60 percent of our population that is young and I want to appeal to the young people of the affected communities that this battle must never be left to the old,” Amupanda told the crowd.

He was quick to note that the elders’ wisdom and foresight may come in handy, but that; “they may not have the necessary energy and tenacity to fight on.”

He added: “I personally don’t think this parliament is going to solve this problem. The battle must be in the streets. The battle must be in the communities. If you have to demonstrate every month in the name of genocide, let’s do it. If we have to talk about genocide in the clubs or churches, let’s do.”

Speaking to Nampa on the sidelines of the demonstration, PDM leader McHenry Venaani echoed Amupanda’s sentiments.

“What you’re saying is that it is fine for Germans to dispossess 160 000 Namibians of their land, take movable and immovable property and after that, you’re giving N$7 billion over 30 years, the same amount that you give to the ministry of health and social services for one year and we must be happy about that?”

Venaani added: “What we are saying is let’s be firm and bring a deal that represents the ethos and values of these communities.”

Also present on the day was Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) leader Epafras Mukwiilongo, who threatened that Germany was skating on thin ice and was taking a serious issue very lightly.

“Their [Germans] days are numbered and we will take those farms that are owned by Germans. As Namibians, we are rejecting this money. It is too little,” Mukwiilongo said.

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