• September 23rd, 2020

Govt wants revised reparation offer … as Geingob gets genocide status update



 

The Namibian government has maintained that the current offer for reparations over the 1904-1908 Ovaherero-Nama genocide by their German counterparts remains unacceptable. 

The Presidency yesterday announced that Geingob has received a status report from special envoy Zed Ngavirue. Ngavirue has been heading government negotiations on genocide between Namibia and Germany since 2015. Between 2015 and 2020, eight rounds of negotiations have taken place, alternating between Berlin, Germany and Namibia. 

President Hage Geingob yesterday indicated he would invite all concerned groups and affected communities of the 1904-1908 genocide to State House for a feedback session after receiving the phase one report from Ngavirue. “The Special Cabinet Committee held on 5 March 2020 directed the Special Envoy to continue with negotiations for a revised offer. Also, the Special Committee directed the Technical Committee (TC) to work with the National Planning Commission to identify costed projects for the seven identified regions in the fields of water provision, rural and peri-urban electrification, road network construction, housing, education, vocational training, value addition, agricultural development and land acquisition,” the Presidency said in a statement. Moreover, 15 meetings of the Special Political Cabinet Committee (SPCC) on genocide, apology and reparations chaired by the Vice President have also taken place, according to the Presidency. Ngavirue informed Geingob that at the conclusion of the eighth round of negotiations in February this year at Swakopmund, the Namibian and German negotiating teams agreed on a draft declaration, stressing a narrative of genocidal events committed by German Imperial Troops in Namibia. “In that vein, the German government citing political and moral responsibility, has agreed to render an unconditional apology to the Namibian government, her people and in particular the affected communities. Although genocide is a punishable crime according to the United Nations Convention on Genocide, signed on 9 December 1948 and effective on 12 January 1951, the German and Namibian government have agreed on a political settlement,” read the statement issued by Presidency spokesperson Alfredo Hengari yesterday. “While the Namibian government agreed to negotiate the issue of redress (reparations), which the German government consistently referred to as “healing the wounds”, Germany has declined to accept the term “reparations”. According to the Presidency, Ngavirue explained the German position was based on their refusal to use the term “reparations” in negotiations with the Jews and the State of Israel, with the two parties settling on the term “Wiedergutmachung” (reconciliation and doing good again) in their agreement signed at Luxemburg in 1952.” According to the Presidency, the Namibian negotiating team found the terminology “healing the wounds” inadequate, and that demand is currently discussed under the rubric of “reconciliation and reconstruction programme”. “The terminology, “reconciliation and ceconstruction programme” will be submitted for debate and approval to the Special Political Cabinet Committee on Genocide, Apology and Reparations and eventually to the head of state, for final approval.” Geingob thanked and applauded Ngavirue for the significant progress made in the first phase of negotiations. “It appears as if you have finished the task that I had assigned to you,” he said. Between 1904-1908, German soldiers killed over 65 000 Ovaherero and an estimated 10 000 Nama in a revolt against land seizures by colonists in what historians and the United Nations have long called the first genocide of the 20th century. Answering questions from the opposition during his state of the nation address in June this year, Geingob said Germany was prepared to render an apology.


Staff Reporter
2020-08-12 09:35:08 | 1 months ago

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