• June 20th, 2019
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The genocide & reparations: Rubicon was reached long ago


It is now general knowledge that another round of talks in the never-ending negotiations between the government of the Republic of Namibia and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany is scheduled for next week.
One may by now have lost count of the number of times these negotiation talks have taken place, yet without any agreeable and constructive solutions in sight. 

In fact, even the fundamentals of the negotiations have not been reached - but it is not hard to see why. It has been evident that these negotiations, from the word go, were ill-advised and thus ill-conceived.  This is because there were no prior consultations in their conceptualization.

Hence the reservation of this section of the affected community about these negotiations, which to this day has never been allayed. Time and gain a section of the affected communities has been harping and protesting against their exclusion from these negotiations. 

Today they are awaiting the verdict of the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York. This is from an application brought before that court by the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama.

Among the pleas by a section of the affected communities is for them to be included in the ongoing negotiations between the two governments as communities with the first, if not only locus standi in this matter. 
So far the Namibian government has been purporting to act on their behalf. In turn the Namibian government has always been maintaining that the door remained open for other members or sections of the affected communities to join the negotiations. 

On its part, the German government has been maintaining that the exclusion of a section of the affected Namibian communities was and is an internal Namibian matter, specifically within the jurisdiction and powers of the Namibian government. 

The last high-ranking Namibian government’s official to openly once again declare the government’s willingness and amenability to welcome those who may have been excluded from the ongoing genocide and reparations between the two governments, was none than Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba. This was on August 31, 2018, on the occasion of the return of a consignment of 27 human remains of Namibian victims of the 1904-1908 genocide by Imperial Germany. 
There and then it was the hope of everyone, including the excluded affected communities, that sooner than later this matter shall see closure. Given the expressed desire for the excluded communities to be included, this being one of their pleas to the court in New York, one cannot understand why a solution seems as distant as ever - years after engagement and agitation by the affected communities.

In fact it is not preposterous to conclude that the matter has long ago reached the Rubicon. To cause a change of direction from all current self-delusional efforts, going back to drawing board for that matter, the matter surely needs a genuine solution to be engineered. 

On the contrary all role players have illusively and self-assuredly been soldiering on their different respective paths, as much as it has been obvious that they have been leading to a cul de sac.  

On the eve of another round of negotiations next weekend in Swakopmund, the German government, fronted by the German ambassador to Windhoek Christian Schlaga and its special envoy on genocide and reparations  Ruprecht Polenz,  is understandably meeting Ovaherero leaders in Omaruru next Thursday. 

Interestingly, among those who have been invited to this meeting are traditional leaders from the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA), one of the traditional authorities that have been vociferous in their protest against their exclusion. 
What worries yours truly is why only the Otjiherero-speaking traditional leaders have seemingly been invited to this meeting. Your guess is as good as mine. But one cannot but think this may be the last kick of this dying horse in trying to get a buy-in among those communities that have been excluded, led by traditional leaders of the OTA. The grapevine has it that matters may not seem what they appear to be within the Namibian negotiating team, with part of it not comfortable with the direction the negotiations seem to have been taking. 

And this may ultimately let the pigeons out regarding the bluff that each and every player, whether in and/or out of the negotiations, have been calling. 

Whatever bluff by whomever of the various role players, it cannot be late for all to call of the bluffs and come to the full realisation that until all players tackle this matter at a roundtable, excluding no one, there cannot be a lasting solution to the issue of genocide and reparations. 


Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro
2019-02-08 12:11:05 4 months ago

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