Matheus Hamutenya Keetmanshoop-Nama communities and chiefs have come out guns blazing in calling the ongoing genocide outreach programme insulting, disrespectful and a mockery to the Nama people for its taking place during the period of mourning for the late Chief Dawid Frederick. Chief Frederick of the !Aman Traditional Authority of Bethanie died on January 12 and is to be buried this weekend, thus the timing of the genocide outreach programme has angered the Nama people. Chairperson of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) Seth Kooitjie was blunt in condemning the outreach programme as ill-timed, given the fact the Nama people are mourning a great leader in Chief Frederick, a man whom he said was at the forefront of the reparation talks. In a statement Chief Kooitjie said the NTLA considers the timing of the outreach programme as disrespectful, not only to the late Chief Frederick, but to all Nama people, adding that it is painful that while the Nama communities prepare to bury their chief, the government has chosen a period of mourning to consult people on a matter that is painful to the descendants of the victims of genocide. “We find it distasteful, disrespectful and an insult that the government should choose to conduct the said outreach while we mourn for our father, grandfather, confidante and stalwart,” he said. He further said it is testament that the government shows no regard for the loss of the Nama people, as it chose to speak to the Nama communities about genocide while they have not yet laid their great leader to rest. Meanwhile at the outreach meeting at Keetmanshoop on Tuesday, some participants expressed the same anger, saying they feel belittled by the government. Some community members did not hold back, saying the government has no regard for the Nama people. To add salt to the wound, one of the committee members in an attempt to explain why the meetings could not be postponed, said they had already postponed and changed their programme due to the Swapo congress last year. And the programme could not be changed anymore as representatives of Namibia and Germany are set to meet for another round of discussions in Windhoek soon – and thus the need to speak to people before the meeting, which idea did not go down well with those at the meeting. “If you had postponed your programme for Swapo politics, you can also postpone it out of respect for our chief,” said one of those present at the meeting. Dr Zed Ngavirue, special envoy in the genocide reparations negotiations, apologised to the Nama communities, saying the consultations were not meant to be disrespectful in anyway, but that they had to continue despite the situation due to the upcoming meeting in Windhoek. He said the committee deemed it fit to tell people about the upcoming meeting, and he assured those present that the consultations were for a good cause. “If we did not consult I would still be accused of not doing things with the affected people – it pains that you have lost a great leader, but I am not sure if you would have liked it if I did not come here to tell you about the meeting and where we are,” he said.
2018-02-02 10:35:43 7 months ago