“Cometh the hour, cometh the man/woman”, is an idiom often used to describe the phenomenon, that sometimes when a hero is needed one appears.
This Tuesday, as has long been expected, the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs, Frans Kapofi, gave notice to the effect of tabling details on the Draft Genocide Deal. That this notice was given by Kapofi, something that some of the political parties in the National Assembly (NA) seem to be having an issue with, is immaterial. What matters is that the avowed deal is now in the NA against the best advise, wishes and pleas by some of the affected communities and political parties in the NA. To be debated, perhaps as a matter of formality and eventually adopted and ratified given the Swapo Party of Namibia majority in the NA.
As far as this matter is concerned there has been double speak or reference to the Joint Declaration at one time, and the Reconciliation Agreement at another. Whether this is one and the same thing with interchangeable use of the terms, only time will tell.
But Yours Truly Ideologically is extremely concerned that should the two be different documents, which is to be tabled in the NA for debate? And should it be the Joint Declaration, are the various political parties sufficiently informed to contribute valuably to the debate in the NA, especially lacking the finer details of either the Joint Declaration and/or the Reconciliation Agreement , whatever the case may be.
But be that as it may be, at the end of the day it may not matter if the difference with the Government’s position by some of the affected communities is fundamental and a matter of principle. Because if the rejection of the affected communities, and some of the political parties in the NA, to the Joint Declaration and/or Reconciliation Agreement, besides for the quantum of N$18 billion, which they stand on record as having rejected for its meagerness, is in principle and fundamental, it matters little whether a full stop or comma is missing to either of the documents should they be two different documents. Because if is fundamentally and in principle flawed it is as good as it doesn’t exist.
The deal hinges on three cardinal points. The German Government or State acknowledging Genocide, Apologising and Repairing the affected communities. It is still debatable if Germany has acknowledged the Genocide on the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama. But if indeed it is accepted that Germany has acknowledged Genocide, the question that immediately begs an answer, is she the right entity, being guilty of the crime of Genocide, to determine and apportion Reparations?
This brings us to the second fundamental question. Is and can the amount offered by Germany properly be seen as Reparations. Which again is a superfluous and irrelevant question, if in the first place Germany has no right to determine and apportion how much to atone for the genocidal crimes of her predecessor Government or State. Unless, of course, by Germany’s own tacit expression, it is only showing some goodwill. A goodwill, that all should admit and appreciate, has little or nothing to do with acknowledging the crime of Genocide and paying Reparations.
This comes down to the fact that the two governments have not been actually negotiating about Genocide, which in the first place, given the fact that Genocide is a crime against humanity and subject to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, cannot be reduced to a bilateral solution between the two governments as seems to have transpired. Unless the two governments have led their two respective peoples, and the international community, to untruthfully believe so. At the end of the day it would seem that the true reality is that Namibia and Germany has only been engaged with each other on a bilateral level.
To see how they can deal with Germany’s past colonial excesses in the then German South West Africa, and not actually the Genocide of the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama, to be able to continue with their friendly bilateral relations hatched at independence.
This is the reality of what has been transpiring. Which has got nothing to do with the 2006 Resolution of the NA relating to Genocide. Whatever happened to that Resolution, the Government must explain to the affected communities, the Namibian nation at large and the international community that has been following the Genocide issue with keen interest.
The Namibian government cannot continue to hoodwink the affected communities and all and sundry that this deal is about Genocide and Reparations because it is not. And for that matter like it has been engaging Germany in bilateralism, certainly it has every right to continue maintain her cordial bilateralism with Germany.
But it must be clear the bilateral relations between the two friendly nations but obviously with a colonial umbilical cord has nothing to do with the crime of Genocide colonial Germany committed against the affected communities. As much as grants and projects cannot be substitutes for Reparations for the crime of Genocide.
As the nation gears up for the possible steamrolling of the Genocide Deal through the NA within two weeks, Yours Truly Ideologically believes these are the salient matters that must inform the debate, and cometh the hour, cometh the man/woman. Is this man/woman the affected communities or Namibian government or both, a win-win situation? And what is the win-win situation in this regard if not going back to the drawing board.