Home affairs minister Frans Kapofi yesterday said the final draft of the Promulgation of Genocide Remembrance Day is ready and will soon be submitted to Cabinet for a final decision.
There have been calls by the affected communities for government to declare a remembrance day in honour of the thousands of Namibians who perished in the German-sanctioned genocide at the turn of the 20th century.
The call for a National Genocide Remembrance Day recently again came to the fore after Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani wrote to President Hage Geingob, requesting clarity on the finalisation of the promulgation of the day.
In his response to Venaani on Friday, Geingob said the significance of the genocide day in honouring the historical atrocity is not lost on the part of government.
“I, therefore, wish to inform you that the Minister of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security is in the process of preparing the Cabinet submission in which he will present the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs to Cabinet for final decision,” Geingob said in the letter to Venaani.
When contacted for an update yesterday, Kapofi said: “Yes we are in a process; the final draft is ready – and very soon, it will be submitted to Cabinet for the final decision”.
Then Swanu parliamentarian Usutuaije Maamberua in 2016 tabled a motion for government to recognise a Genocide Remembrance Day.
At the time, Maamberua said the purpose of the motion was for parliament to discuss, debate – and through a standing committee of parliament, consult the affected communities and relevant authorities to determine and bring about the enactment or declaration of the memorial day.
“A Genocide Remembrance Day is an important occasion to remember the lives that were lost, to show solidarity with the descendants of the victims and to unite to ensure genocide never happens again in Namibia, Africa or elsewhere,” Nampa quoted Maamberua as having said.
He proposed that 28 May should be declared as Genocide Remembrance Day, as it was on that day that the official and formal closure to the Ovaherero and Nama genocide episode was reached when all concentration camps in Namibia were ordered to close in 1908.
Venaani, who was one of the members to make his contribution to the debate on that day, said the genocide issue is Namibian, and many Namibians are direct descendants of the genocide.
He also emphasised the importance of a memorial day, as it would benefit those affected.
Venaani, however, disagreed with the date suggested by Maamberua, proposing 2 October for memorial day. - firstname.lastname@example.org