WINDHOEK – Vice-President (VP) Nangolo Mbumba yesterday said the genocide negotiation process has to be conducted at a pace that ensures that all issues are covered and facts gathered correctly.
Namibian and Germany have since late 2015 been in negotiations about the genocide perpetrated in Namibia by the latter between 1904 and 1908, to find justice for the descendants of the genocide victims.
“Progress has been made, as slow as it might have been. The political declaration is very close to being finalised - that we agree what we mean with genocide, apology, and reparation,” Mbumba made the remarks during a meeting with President of the German Bundesrat Daniel Gunter who paid a courtesy call to President Hage Geingob at State House yesterday.
“The genocide and apology issues are things we only need legal people to go through. The elephant in the room, as the negotiators always call it, is collaboration to make right the wrongs of the past,” said the VP.
Mbumba said there are communities affected by genocide who express and show emotions that history was not kind to them due to injustices of the past.
According to him, Namibia currently faces a severe drought due to lack of rainfall.
Therefore, he told the German delegation, that Namibia wants a clear definition or separation between development assistance and major items to be addressed when “doing right” in terms of education, land, water and the infrastructure of the children of those survived those injustices.
“Your visit came at the neediest period because if negotiators have done something, then what is left is for the political leadership on both sides to make the final decisions. Those final decisions might not be easy or might not be acceptable to some communities. But hopefully, they have to be acceptable by the majority of people of both sides,” Mbumba remarked.
Gunter said there is a need to find a solution to the genocide process.
“We in German are aware of our guilt, we are aware of the suffering that we have brought to Namibia. We know our past unite and divide us. We are interested in finding a quick solution to the genocide issue. We are hopeful the process speeds up and concluded in good time,” Gunter noted.
Geingob, however, said there is no need to rush the genocide negotiation process, adding issues should be handled properly.
The German politician then said when he referred to the speedy resolution, he did not mean that Germany wanted to rush the negotiation process, but that his country should not be accused of slowing the process down deliberately.
Namibian envoy on genocide and reparations, Dr Zed Ngavirue recently said the current administration of the Federal Republic of Germany under Chancellor Angel Merkel offers the genocide and reparations claim by Namibians for the 1904-1908 injustices committed by Imperial Germany, particularly the genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama, a ‘window of opportunity’.
The German government pledged to continue assisting Namibia through developmental aid in areas of access to water, energy and fight against climate change.
“These are big challenges and I want to assure you that we are ready to support you in this regard,” he assured.
Geingob also invited the German business community to come and attend the Investment Conference slated for July 30.
The German leader also said there is a notable presence of German companies in Namibia and they will continue to ensure they create jobs to locals.
Geingob maintained Namibia has laws that provide a conducive environment for investors who want to do business in the country.