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Govt poised to conclude genocide issue - Kapofi

2021-12-03  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Govt poised to conclude genocide issue - Kapofi

Defence minister Frans Kapofi has assured the genocide-affected communities of the government’s commitment to bring the genocide issue to finality to the satisfaction of everyone.

Kapofi gave this assurance in parliament on Wednesday while replying to questions raised by fellow members of parliament over the purported agreement signed by the German and Namibian governments earlier this year. 

Germany massacred an estimated 80 000 Ovaherero and Nama at the turn of the 20th century. 

The two governments allegedly agreed that Germany would apologise for the genocide and extend financial assistance of N$18 billion in project funding over 30 years to the descendants of affected communities.

However, the majority of the affected communities feel that Germany must do more to atone for its sins. 

“This progress must be sustained and reinforced. The main issue of concern is the amount of reparation and the disbursement thereof. 

The views expressed by all members on various issues on the genocide, apology and reparations will be collated and taken into consideration by the executive when handling this matter, going forward,” Kapofi told lawmakers. 

“I want to caution that negotiation being what it is, entailing give and take, one must be alive to the fact that because of various political and economic dynamics, it could be a serious mistake for Namibia to naively abandon the negotiation process altogether in the absence of any appreciable guarantee that if the ongoing negotiations are abandoned, Germany will necessarily be willing to restart negotiations and agree on new and improved terms of the joint declaration.”

Kapofi, who is the mover of the motion, also shot down claims that some of the affected communities were excluded, saying the process was a consultative and participatory one, fashioned by the government to allow everyone to make inputs.  

“The government, while not obligated to refer this matter to the National Assembly prior to the signing of the joint declaration, given its importance, deemed it appropriate to give you (MPs) an opportunity to give your input on the matter,” he stated.

He added that for the avoidance of any doubt, the joint declaration was not brought to parliament for approval, but was a consultative and participatory process initiated by the government to allow everyone to make an input.  

“The government’s door remains open for those Namibians who were not on board to join so that we can conclude this matter,” the defence minister said while quoting Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who on Tuesday also contributed to the debate.

Kapofi said for more than 10 weeks, he was pleased to note that MPs as the representatives of the electorate openly and yet frankly made their voices heard by making important and informative representations worthy of note.  

“I, therefore, have no doubt that their representations made here will be helpful to the executive in dealing with this matter, going forward,” he continued.

He said while there may have been some cases of MPs, for political expedience, regrettably trying to score some political points in a manner that was not conducive to a frank and dignified discussion of the matter, he recognises that the discussions were, by and large, truly reflective of the Namibian culture and values of promoting peace, reconciliation and unity.

2021-12-03  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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