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Editorial - Common genocide position can unite us

2021-10-01  Staff Reporter

Editorial - Common genocide position can unite us
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Lively and audience-oriented debates have been taking centre stage in the National Assembly over the past two weeks. 

 The heated moments stem from the recently tabled joint declaration on the genocide reparation pact between Namibia and Germany over the colonial-era atrocities committed against the Ovaherero and Nama people.

 The sharp divisions have escalated to the parliamentary chambers, where the executive is seeking the ratification of the German offer.  

Berlin has promised financial support worth N$18 billion over 30 years to aid projects in the country. 

According to the joint declaration, projects will be implemented in the Erongo, Hardap, //Kharas, Khomas, Kunene, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions within the sectors of land reform and development, agriculture, rural livelihoods and natural resources, rural infrastructure, energy and water supply, as well as technical and vocational education and training. 

This offer has been entirely rejected by the opposition represented in parliament and some traditional leaders. 

Some Swapo parliamentarians have also called for the offer to be reviewed, saying the difference between what was offered and what Namibia suggested is too stark. 

Opposition leaders like McHenry Venaani questioned the offer by the German authorities, claiming it was merely a continuation of aid and not about atoning for the atrocities committed against the Ovaherero and Nama people. 

In a composed contribution on Wednesday, Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi was equally vocal about the genocide pact and made an impassioned plea to the Head of State to consider bringing all affected communities together and chart a new way forward to realise a united stand against what is currently being offered by the European giant. Although government is under pressure to conclude the deal with Germany, the cries of the affected communities should not be wholly dismissed, given the highly emotive nature of the topic. 

It should also not be construed as cheap politicking on the part of opposition politicians. 

As the mover of the motion defence minister Frans Kapofi stated, a fortnight ago, divergent views should not be stifled. 

The fact, however, remains no amount of money can be commensurate to human life. 

In its current form, the agreement will not deliver restorative justice to affected communities and Namibians at large. 

The fight, therefore, should be on the basis of restoring human dignity by not only bringing warring parties together, but to create a response that would widely be acceptable to communities whose ancestors felt the brutality of the coloniser’s first hand, including land dispossession and the killings as well as confiscation of livestock. 

Even government has recognised the inadequacies of the amount offered by its German counterparts. 

So, there is already a common position on this, which should now serve as a basis for a unified approach going forward. 

A review of the joint declaration, with contribution by all those aggrieved by this agreement, would be an important step to assert influence towards a more acceptable pact. 

This gives us an opportunity to unite towards the greater good of the nation. 

Namibia will be the only winner at the end of the day. 

2021-10-01  Staff Reporter

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