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Swapo MP wants genocide offer reviewed

2021-09-24  Loide Jason

Swapo MP wants genocide offer reviewed
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Swapo parliamentarian Paula Kooper has called on the German government to review the offer of reparations to Namibian communities over the genocide in colonial Namibia more than 100 years ago. 

The two countries settled for an offer of N$18 billion, which will now see Germany fund projects in Namibia over 30 years to atone for its role in genocide and property seizures. Kooper said the difference between what was offered and what Namibia suggested is too stark. She made her contribution towards the debate on the draft joint declaration between the Republic of Namibia and the Federal Republic of Germany in parliament on Wednesday afternoon. 

She added that following consultations, communities were able to meet with their leaders and discuss the contents of the joint declaration. “In all our engagements, we shared what the proposed programmes are intended to achieve, and that communities must be in the driving seat of how any money paid as reparations will be used. We cannot talk about ‘nothing about us without us’ and not share the information that we are privy to with the communities,” Kooper stressed. 

She further stated that communities must have a basic understanding what they agreed to or disagreed with.

“The advice from our affected communities was that we have our foot in the door; let us engage on the issue of quantum and improve on the document, and not simply throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is easy for us in these positions to simply say ‘let us reject it’ without a firm proposal for an alternative, or how we can improve on it and still get what we deserve,” she continued. 

The MP said although communities also expressed sentiments that the nation must not lose the opportunity to keep this fire burning, it must not be at the expense of dividing communities and the Namibian nation at large.

 Higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi said in her contribution that the quantum offered is too small and not commensurate with the cost of the many lives lost, neither can it be equated to the inhumane brutalities people experienced.

She indicated that it was not easy to bring the German government to the table to engage on the three pillars of Germany acknowledging that what they had committed in Namibia during 1904-1908 was genocide, to render an apology as well as to pay reparations. 

The minister said the onus is now on parliament to see to it that the hard-won gains of the Namibian negotiating team are recognised and given due regard.   “Therefore, as we continue to engage through these debates and further continue with outreach where necessary to enlighten ourselves and our communities, our efforts should be towards finding the best possible avenues to improve, strengthen and perfect the joint declaration before finalising it,” Kandjii-Murangi noted. 

She added that it is parliament’s duty to guide accordingly, and give those in the forefront the best ammunition to further engage the Germans to expand the quantum and finalise the important historic undertaking of the government. 

“Our government has forced the German government to engage us as an equal sovereign state that is responsible for and accountable to its citizenry’s overall welfare, and to listen to the Namibian narrative of pain, anguish and trauma of displacement and dispossession,” she continued.

– ljason@nepc.com.na


2021-09-24  Loide Jason

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