Chiefs’ Assembly sees Chiefs’ Forum sessions
as continued government’s intransigence

Staff Writer

Ovaherero and Ovambanderu traditional leaders are not amused by the Namibian government’s continued clandestine intransigent activities surrounding the issue of Genocide, Apology and Reparations.

Especially in view of the total rejection by a section of the affected communities last May of the Joint Declaration (JD) between it and its German counterpart. Some National Assembly members, particularly from the opposition benches, were also in unison in rejecting the JD during a 4-month debate from last September to December. The JD also received a broadside from international human rights organisations, like the European Centre for Human and Constitutional Rights (ECHCR), as well as international governmental organisations, notably the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights.

Eight traditional leaders united in what has come to be known as the Chiefs Assembly, adopted the Okandjoze Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), by which they pledge to work together on the campaign for the acknowledgement of the genocide of their forebears by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany. They have issued media statement particularly disturbed by the government’s once again rounding up fellow traditional leaders for a series of Chiefs Forum’s sessions starting tomorrow. They consider this action by the Namibian government as continued intransigent on its part given the rejection of the JD, and its subsequent state of limbo since the debate in the NA last year. The traditional leaders have been maintaining that now that the JD have been widely declared a non-starter, as essentially it has nothing to do with the issue of the acknowledgement of genocide by Germany, followed by the requisite and appropriate apology to the relevant and right people, meaning the affected communities, and ultima
tely Reparations, the six years of would-be negotiations have simply been wasted. Because all what the two governments have been engaged in and occupied with this period, is their bilateral relations. Calling in this regard for a return to the drawing board.

This position notwithstanding, which the traditional leaders have communicated to their Namibian government time and again, the government seems to have been clandestinely continuing with the implementation of the JD. As the German broadcaster, the Deutsche Welle, revealed recently through the German government’s answers to questions posed by German parliamentarians in the German parliament. Which pointed to the Namibian government’s intransigent determination to implement the JD, together with its German counterpart.

The traditional leaders thus sees the envisaged Chief’s Forum sessions as nothing but the government’s bid to convince some fellow traditional leaders to continue with the implementation of the JD. Last week a group of German parliamentarians visited the country, and had an audience with, among others, the Speaker of the National Assembly. But not with the affected communities, especially those against the JD. It seems as these traditional leaders’ attempt to have an audience with the German parliamentary delegation proved futile. The parliamentarians left Namibia on Friday. But through an interview with a local media house, one of them seemed to infer that the way forward was through the implementation of the JD.

But for the Chiefs’ Assembly, and its traditional leaders, neither the Namibian, nor its German counterpart, can any longer be entrusted with this issue. Which the affected communities themselves must now take charge of, define its agenda onward and charts its course forward.

CAPTION: Chiefs united in the Chiefs Assembly as per the Okandjoze Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) feel the government is being intransigent in convening the Chiefs Forum this week against widespread rejection of the Joint Declaration (JD).

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