Is the current demand by the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama for the recognition by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, that its predecessor government of the Imperialist Capitalist State of the Third Reich, committed genocide against their forebears, and to apologise and atone for such, namely pay reparations, based on any ideology or ought it to be based on any ideology?
Yours Truly Ideologically is tempted to pose this question after some soul-searching, prompted by the retrogressive legacy Namibia’s liberation struggle, which, by the admission of those engaged in it, was not based on any ideology. Other than nationalism and patriotism. Hence the non- ideological tampering by our current government’s socio-economic reforms, or lack thereof, in our post-liberation society.
This is despite some of the liberation parties, and/or liberation movements’ pretense and posturing with Marxist-Leninism and/or socialist ideology. Thus in the absence ofm any ideological disposition towards reparations, the demand for reparations, and the windfalls therefrom, in whatever form and nature, material or financial, cannot and should not be enough. Unless when realised it would be towards instrumentalising and propelling an alternative socio-economic edifice, even be it within and confined to the affected communities, facilitating a radical socio-economic transformation in the lives of the members of these communities, if not the affected communities themselves holistically.
A system that would not only see these communities being better off in an essentially Capitalist system, but that would serve as a catalyst towards communalism, or a return to communalism that their pre- Colonial pre-Capitalist societies once were. Otherwise reparations, when realised, may turn out to be futile and not worth the effort of the likes of late Dr Kuaima Riruako.
The affected communities have untiringly and without losing hope, been engaged in a relentless agitation for Genocide, Apology and Reparations. But for better or worse the ideology underpinning this demand has never been clear, if non- existent altogether, let alone a reparations blueprint with the effect radically transforming these communities socio-economically.
Late Ovaherero Paramount Chief (PC) Dr Kuaima Riruako, and contemporaries and his technocrats in the Ovaherero and Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation, essentially propelled the issue of the genocide of the Ovaherero, Ovamabnderu and Nama, and the attendant demand for reparations, to where it is today. With the recently departed PC, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, heightening awareness about it internationally with the class action in the US courts. All commendable and ground breaking efforts for sure. But the challenge has always been with the indigenous intelligentsia and their part and role in the demand for GAR. In all fairness one could not expect these leaders to have given and/define the demand for reparations the requisite ideological context. As a result the demand has been perceived to be based on no leftist radical ideology and/or ideologically bankrupt.
Yours Truly Ideologically submits it may only be ideologically bankrupt at the superficial level, and only as long as such an ideology may have been latent because of lack of articulation. But who could have articulated such an ideology given the ominous silence of the African indigenous intelligentsia.
Many a times the affected communities are made to belief by their leaders they are the ultimate beneficiaries of whatever may result from the demand for reparations. How this is envisaged panning out ultimately, has been of least concern, understandably for the Father of the African Genocide, late Riruako, and company. Opening the cause to all kinds of interpretations, even revisionism as represented lately by Joint Declaration and Agreement between Germany and Namibia. Many a colonised indigenous African masses had no belief in Colonialism and Capitalism, but only imaginary post-Colonial and post-Capitalist dispensation. Blinded by the evil of Colonial Capitalism and the urge to rid themselves of its shackles. Opting for political kingdom first. In the absence of a clearly defined and articulated ideology, the demand for reparations runs the same risk of revisionism.
Where are we today in many of the former colonial countries wherever in the world with the exception of a very few if any at all? Flag independence, without any meaningful socio-economic transformation. This seems basically the same recipe the affected communities in Namibia and their brethren and sisters in the Diaspora, Botswana and South Africa, are destined for in the absence of a paradigm shift and an ideological awareness if not reawakening.
At the centre and front of the demand for reparations are the traditional leaders and their authorities. But with the exception of a few if any, they as yet have to provide any enviable track record in terms of providing for their communities, as unenviable as their conditions may be in terms of resources. But their communities are their foremost resources, and there is little evidence what they have been able to tap on same. With the best these traditional authorities been doing being falling over one another to be first in the queue of the Government’s handouts.
With the whiff of the reparations windfalls, an unprecedented rivalry and race towards controlling the purses of the would-be jackpot has been unleashed. The genesis of the seeming divisions among the affected communities. A peoples’ cause with no ideology!