President Hage Geingob has castigated some descendants of the victims of the 1904-08 Nama-Ovaherero genocide for demanding that government steps aside as far as negotiations with Germany are concerned.
Government has been at the receiving end of complaints from descendants of the victims of the genocide as well as some political parties who have bemoaned the N$18 billion genocide agreement reached with Germany over the mass killing of Namibians more than 100 years ago.
Namibian and German authorities last year agreed to a genocide reparations pact, which included the European nation committing to fund projects in Namibia amounting to N$18 billion over 30 years.
But some affected communities have from the outset rejected the Namibian government’s negotiations with Germany, saying they have been excluded from decisions affecting them. Geingob, however, pushed back on those claims.
In fact, he hit back that “his government” has nothing to do with the genocide committed by Germans between 1904 and 1908 for critics to insult, condemn and blame the authorities. “My government was not involved in the genocide. Why should the government be condemned and blamed? My government wasn’t involved. We all have feelings.
We have responsibilities,” Geingob insisted yesterday while fielding questions from the opposite benches during the state of the nation address. “We represent all Namibians, but we shouldn’t be told to step aside in the genocide negotiations. I am elected by Namibians, whether a Herero elected me or not. I am still the President. Some of us are tired. We can discuss the way forward”, he lashed out yesterday.
In January this year, the Nama and Ovaherero representatives petitioned Germany’s new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, calling her to restart what they termed as “failed German-Namibia inter-governmental negotiations on the genocide of their ancestors”.
“This exclusion of our non-governmental organisations not only contradicts a resolution of the Namibian parliament from 2006, which was introduced by the then paramount chief of the Ovaherero himself”, Nama representative Sima Luipert and Ovaherero activist Israel Kaunatjike said in an online petition.
Geingob warned that the absence of unity between Namibians in dealing with the genocide issue will lead to an ugly situation. “We are quarreling about it for a long time and as I said, let the Germans not laugh at us. What is worth a life? You are saying 10 billion is enough for human life? We are fighting. All I am saying is that let us not be divided. We are angry at one another. Let us unite. I am an elected leader, and I represent everybody. The way I see it, it’s dividing us. This thing can cause trouble”, he reiterated. The National Assembly is yet to agree to Berlin’s offer of a formal apology for committing genocide in Namibia between 1904 and 1908 against the Nama and Ovaherero people.