• April 24th, 2019
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Reparations leadership must deal with Hoffmann issue


The local media has lately been abuzz with reports regarding the relieving of Ida Hoffmann MP from her active role in the Genocide Reparations and Restitution movement, and especially her involvement in the reparation movement through the Nama Traditional Leaders Association. This move to alienate this bona fide descendant of genocide victims from her own cause has even reverberated as far as Germany, where the non-governmental organisation, Berlin Post-Kolonial, has written to the association, in particular to chiefs Dawid Frederick and Petrus Kooper, expressing concern over the reported move, lest it impact negatively on the work done so far. The charge against Hoffmann is her perceived failure to give the traditional leaders feedback. Whether there is substance to the claim or not, one cannot tell, but one wonders how the technical committee that Hoffmann has been chairing, has indeed been failing to give these traditional leaders or those involved in the campaign for reparations and restitution, the necessary feedback. One may not be privy to the association and the technical committees’ inner workings and their internal liaison procedures, but one thing for sure is that unless proven so, the technical committee must not and could not be an isolated unilateral entity taking unilateral and arbitrary decisions. On the contrary it is and is supposed to be an executive and implementing arm of the association, meaning if there is anything that the technical committee, and thus Hoffmann, is guilty of, it is not failure to give the traditional leaders any feedback. Feedback on what and for what if the main decisions are taken by the association, and thus the traditional leaders, only for the technical committee, and/or Hoffmann to implement them? Also, re decision-making and/or liaison and coordination within the broader reparations/restitution movement, this must be taking place at the levels of the Nama traditional leaders, and their Ovaherero and Ovambanderu counterparts, for the technical committees as mere secretariats and thus conveyance belts, and thus implementer. Thus the only thing the committees can and should be accused of, is non-implementation. Still it is well known that both the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu technical committee, and its Nama counterpart, are the oils that have been lubricating the reparations machinery, as well as its engines, ensuring the clogworks of the reparation campaign are ever running. Indeed the two technical committees have been equal to the task. The momentum of the reparations campaign speaks volume in this regard. It is thus unfortunate to hear that Hoffman, after what she has invested in this cause, humanly and materially, for the traditional leaders to be as insensitive as they have lately been appearing to be towards her. It must be clear that the genocide and reparations issue is not by any measure nor any imagination the monopoly of any single traditional leader or community. Unity among the affected communities, and among leaders of such communities, is a sine qua non, especially in the face of a formidable country like Germany. And in the face of detractions, distortions and even sabotages the movement has been and are experiencing everyday. History and morality have always been on the side of the affected communities, and morality as well. And no opportunistic endeavours by any power shall reverse the reparations tidal wave. One cannot but read the seeming disdain by traditional leaders of Hoffmann as nothing by but shenanigans of the opponents of reparations to rid the movement of its most trusted, formidable and principled foot soldiers like Hoffmann. This seeming standoff between the Nama leaders and Hoffmann is not only internal to the struggle as many may want it seem. But all the signs of mechanization and masterminding division within the movement are there. This surely the movement is capable of deflecting but also repelling and totally destroying. The seeming tiff is not an insurmountable misunderstanding and the seeming differences are and can by no means be irreconcilable. It is within the capability of the leadership of the reparations movement to intervene and arbitrate lest it does not derail the reparations movement that has come a long away this far to derail, stop or even reverse. There is no turning back. Unless the leadership of the reparations movement, the traditional leaders of the Nama, Ovaherero and Ovambanderu, allow this. Even for the misunderstanding between the Nama traditional leaders and Hoffmann to become ballgame between lawyers as it seems veering on. The leadership all of the affected communities must deal with it, period!
New Era Reporter
2017-11-10 10:00:48 1 years ago

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