AFLoN demands Constitution change to sensitise it to genocide issues

Staff Writer

The Ancestral Land Foundation of Namibia(ALFoN) is calling for a referendum to amend the Constitution so that is in favour of all Namibians, and particularly in favour of the descendants of the survivors of genocide.

ALFoN today handed a petition in this regard to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation (MIRCO), Office of the National Assembly and the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform. The petition was received at the entrance gate to both parliament and the Prime Minister’s Office which were barricaded with a notable police and security officers’ presence. Sandie Tjaronda, ALFoN’s spokesperson, to Rebecca Iyambo, MIRCO Deputy Executive Secretary. But a representative from lands ministry was a now show. The handing over followed a short march from Zoo Park to Parliament Gardens and comes at a time when a Namibia technical team on Genocide, Apology and Reparations is currently meeting its German counterpart in Germany, presumably to continue with the operalisation of the Joint Declaration (JD). Despite the fact that the groundswell in Namibian against then JD continues to grow, testimony to this being AFLoN.

It further calls on the Namibian government to officially acknowledge the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama by Imperial Germany. “Government must desist from its pretentious manipulative ploy and play a facilitating and oversight role to allow meaningful dialogue between the German government and representative of the affected communities. Government cannot be the player and referee at the same time in the process. There must be clear and transparent segregation of roles in the dialogue,” says Tjaronda reading the statement before handing it over.

He is of the view that government should fast track the gazetting of the memorialisation of Genocide Remembrance Day to officially commemorate genocide and ancestral land. “The Day has already been identified, and we are preparing for its commemoration (with or without Government approval,” determines Tjaronda. As per the 2016 motion by former Swanu parliamentarian, Usutuaije Maamberua, 28 May has been proposed as Genocide Rememberance Day. Six years after is anybody’s guess what the holdup has been despite a parliamentary committee having had public consultations in this regard and the day has been endorsed.

AFLoN is of the view that the envoy for the Ovaherero and Nama in rebooted negotiations, meaning new and fresh negotiations with the ongoing negotiations that has been between the two governments already discredit with the total rejection of the JD, is matter for the descendants of the survivors of genocide themselves. “Henceforth we call for the restoration of the trust by the appointment of an independent People’s Envoy on the Ancestral Land dispossession and Genocide in an open, transparent and apolitical process in consultation with the affected communities.”

On land it is calling for the government to impose a moratorium on all lands “with ancestral profile with historical jurisdiction of the Ovaherero and Nama” so that disputes about them could be settled justly. “Any attempts by other tribal groupings to acquire land in the areas where dispossession and neo-colonial occupation in the former German South West Africa took place should be viewed as a counter-productive measure to achieving restorative justice for the Ovaherero and Nama nation communities.”

Adding that the Ovaherero and Nama are not demanding for genocide handouts from Germany or its Namibian counterpart but the return of ancestral land.

AFLoN was joined by members of political parties and civic organisations in the demonstration and petition handing over.

By Observer