WINDHOEK- Ovaherero paramount chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro has cautioned President Hage Geingob not to overstep his boundaries when it comes to the sensitive issues pertaining to genocide, including the much anticipated land conference.
Rukoro made these remarks during the commemoration of the Battle of Ohamakari at the Okakarara Cultural Centre in Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region on Saturday.
The battle, the first between Ovaherero and Nama ethnic groups and the then imperial German troops, broke out on 11 August 1904.
It led to German Major-General Lothar von Trotha issuing an order on 2 October 1904 for the extermination of all Ovaherero and Nama who resisted the German colonial administration in Namibia.
“We reject the notion that simply because we voted for a President [Geingob] at the general election, whose manifesto did not say a word about genocide, he can all of a sudden have an open-ended mandate to speak on our behalf on any topic under the sun in the name of representative government,” said the out-spoken tribal chief.
“Fellow Namibians, we live in unusual time. Times in which a government of a revolutionary [party] has effectively joined forces with a foreign enemy state against its own citizens and by definition its own national security interest when properly analysed,” he said.
He said this is effectively what has been going on ever since the Namibian government decided to go against the letter and spirit of the resolution of its National Assembly, which resolved that there must be discussion between Germany and the descendants of the communities affected by the genocides it committed, with the Namibian government being also an interested participant.
He said, instead, government opted for bilateral discussions involving the two governments [of Namibia and Germany].
“This has been the fundamental and principal difference between us and our government,” he said.
“This is not how ‘real politics’ works - that’s indirect violation of UN Principles on the Rights of Indigenous People, to which both Namibia and Germany have acceded and it is similarly a violation of Treaty of Rome to which both Namibia and Germany are signatories,” he added.
Rukoro says government was approaching this matter with lack of political sensitivity.
He also accused government of sheer political arrogance in its handling of the the upcoming land conference.
He said this is reflected in the proposed allocation of delegates to the various stakeholders which according to him is very politically loaded against the interest of those who lost ancestral land and in favour of maintaining the status quo.
“The overwhelming majority of delegates will be made up of a coalition of government ministries, offices and agencies including parastatals, allies in the trade union movements and business federation, churches and NGO’s, capitalist donor agencies from ‘friendly’ countries – you name it. [They] will all be mobilised to dominate the 2nd national land conference and outcome thereof,” he said.
“We, the people, shall resist with all legal and legitimate means at our disposal. This is a cause for which our ancestors died. This is a cause for which we shall fight for and win,” he exclaimed.