Swartbooi wants restorative justice

29 April 2016 | Government



Deputy Land Reform Minister Clinton Swartbooi says the Nama and OvaHerero genocide and the issue of land are inseparable.
The Swapo MP, who was making his contribution on a motion to set aside a day to commemorate the genocide in Parliament on Wednesday, questioned the government’s land policies. He said they must be scrutinised to see whether they are addressing the values of restorative justice.
The motion for a Genocide Remembrance Day was tabled by Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The date proposed for this day is 28 May, the day when all concentration camps were ordered to close.
Swartbooi said the genocide had significant economic, social and political ramifications that must be corrected.
“We cannot just commemorate the genocide day and think we do justice to the survivors in this country because we have commemorated the day, and not fixed the bread-and-butter issues of the victims,” he said.
Swartbooi said the resettlement programme was the appropriate means to address the issue of land, which was directly linked to the genocide. “Hereros were placed in reserves, Namas were placed in reserves yet I must caution that it was not only these two groups who lost land. The Kavango people lost a lot of land, Zambezi lost land, our Ovambo compatriots lost a lot of land also and the Damaras, the San and the Rehoboth Basters,” he said.
“When we speak about this, we must be cautious but we must constantly remind ourselves of the size and scope of the losses of community to community in order to premise our interventions as a nation and to premise them on genuine restorative justice. When we act genuinely to achieve restorative justice, we can look back and say we have done our best,” he said.
Swartbooi urged Namibians to respect the battles of tribes regardless of personal involvement, saying it is important not to generalise the so-called extermination order.
“When people speak about genocide and extermination it should not be seen as if they want to claim in competition. We should recognise it objectively,” Swartbooi urged.

Reconciliation
Swartbooi pointed out that the German colonisers were brutal but that reconciliation in Namibia only comes from one side and is not necessarily reciprocated on all fronts as it should be.
“We should from time to time ask whether reconciliation is working. . . It is interesting that despite national reconciliation, many of our people that are of German descent are quiet about this issue. Even those in our political set-up tend to walk out when these discussions come up,” he said.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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