Staff Writer

The Nama and Ovaherero affected communities have not rejected the Joint Declaration because of the amount of about N$18 billion, which the German government has offered in development aid to the benefit of these communities.

Says Chairperson of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA), Gaob Petrus Simon Kooper. Gaob Kooper was speaking on Saturday at the annual /Khowese cultural festival at Gibeon. He says for them the amount is immaterial as opposed to Germany first admitting guilt to genocide, which as far as they are concerned she has not. “Germany until now has not admitted that [she] committed a crime. We cannot and will not discuss any quantum as long as there is no admission of guilt for a crime. Germany cannot be the accused and the judge at the same time,” says Kooper also throwing a broadside at the recent speech in the National Assembly by Mines and Energy Minister, Tom Alweendo, that the Genocide, Apology and Reparations (GAR) negotiations should not start afresh.

By demanding direct representation in the negotiations, from which they have been excluded by the government contrary to its claim that some affected communities have excluded themselves, Kooper says they are not asking favours but claiming what rightfully belongs to them. In this regard they have instructed the Genocide Technical Team of the NTLA to explore all legal options to further pursue the demand against Germany. These efforts seem to already bearing fruits telling by, amongst others, the report of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence, Fabián Salvioli, to the United Nations General Assembly in July. “Reparations should not and cannot be dressed up as humanitarian aid, assistance or development cooperation, evading the assumption of due responsibilities,” notes the report commenting on the Joint Declaration.

In this regard the United Nations Human Rights Committee is expected to pronounce itself on the matter this Friday, 5 November, after which it is also expected to issue a public statement. Kooper urges political parties, government ministers and parliamentarians to refrain from polarising the Nama people on genocide, adding that they are obligated to instead unite on this issue “if justices is a matter of principle to” them. “As Nama leaders we are not against the government. We are saying to the Namibian government, help us evoke our legal rights and our constitutionally enshrined human right to justice for the losses we suffered as Nama people, so that Nama children to can finally live in peace. Nothing more nothing less,” Kooper clarifies.

Adding that they know and feel the pain and misery that their people has left behind and that they live and breathe that pain everyday. “As Nama Gaogu it is our prime responsibility to protect the interests of our children and our subjects. We cannot sign away the lives of the generations to come. We saw very clearly that their future is in danger and it would be a historical shame we would carry to our graves if we as leaders sign away their legal and human rights,” determines Kooper.