Genocide agreement heads to Parliament


THE CONTROVERSIAL agreement on the genocide issue between Namibia and the German governments will be tabled in the National Assembly when the house resumes sitting next month.

This was announced by Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila who confirmed that it would be tabled in Parliament when it resumes on 7 September, 2021. The agreement on the 1904-08 genocide in which up to 100 000 Ovaherero, 10 000 Nama and an unknown number of San died in the genocide was reached early this year between Namibia and Germany and has divided Namibians.

The first phase of the genocide was characterised by widespread death from starvation and dehydration, due to the prevention of the Ovaherero by German forces from leaving the desert. Thousands of Ovaherero and Nama were imprisoned in concentration camps where the majority died from diseases, abuse, and exhaustion.

Germany agreed to recognise its brutal aggression and colonial-era killings of tens of thousands of people in Namibia but stopped short of terming it as genocide.

German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas said at the time the country would seek forgiveness from Namibia and relatives of the victims, as well as a “joint path to genuine reconciliation”.

He added that Germany would also commit to spending €1.1bn (about N$12,5 billion) on mostly development projects over the next 30 years.

While some people accepted the agreement, others like the late Ovaherero Paramount Chief Vekuui Rukoro, strongly rejected it and accused the Namibian government of selling Namibians out.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says once the matter is agreed on in Parliament, it will be submitted to Cabinet for deliberations to ensure the resolutions are in line with those passed in the National Assembly.

The PM further reveals to Windhoek Observer that the Government is not considering appointing a new special envoy on the genocide to replace the late Dr Zed Ngavirue who was appointed in 2015 because they believe the negotiations were concluded. Ngavirue passed on this July after the conclusion of the negotiations.

“It will depend on how the country deals with the issue, what will have to be done. It is difficult to say anything about any new appointment as we have indicated the envoy facilitated these discussions, and there is a joint declaration which has not been signed and still has to go to parliament. It is difficult to talk beyond the declaration as we do not have the decision of parliament on the declaration,” she says.

The declaration constitutes the rendering of an apology and the payment of €1.1bn for development projects in Namibia over the next 30 years by the Federal Republic of Germany.

The declaration would then be signed by the foreign ministers of Namibia and Germany. Once, signed, the Joint Declaration will be brought to the National Assembly for ratification.

Parliament Senior Public Relations Officer, David Nahogandja, says the debate on the agreement has not been tabled in parliament yet because only when members resume sitting will they give notice of the topics for the house to discuss. Until the genocide issue is be tabled in parliament, we will not know whether it is among the topics on the order paper.”

Late Dr Ngavirue led the negotiations from 2015 to this year when the agreement was reached.

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