Genocide reparations to fund regional projects

Andrew Kathindi

Government has announced that repatriation funds from Germany for the genocide on Herero and Nama people at the start of the last century, when eventually received, will be used for costed projects from seven identified regions in the country.

This comes as President Hage Geingob stated that the offer for reparations made by the German Government remains an outstanding issue and is not acceptable to Namibia in its current form, as negotiations continue.

Germany made an N$206 million dollar (Euro 10 million) settlement offer as part of reparations.

According to a statement by the Presidency, the Special Committee directed the Technical Committee (TC) to work with the National Planning Commission to identify costed projects for the //Kharas, Hardap, Khomas, Kunene, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa and Erongo regions. Press Secretary, Alfredo Hengari confirmed to Windhoek Observer that these were chosen as the affected regions.

“The projects will be in the fields of water provision, rural and peri-urban electrification, road network construction, housing, education, vocational training, value addition, agricultural development and land acquisition,” the statement from the Presidency read.

Ambassador Zed Ngavirue reported that the Technical Committee has enlisted the services of an expert who is currently finalizing the project proposals for consideration by the SPCC before the end of August 2020.

According to Ngavirue, the head of the Namibian Committee on Negotiations on Genocide, Apology and Reparations (GAR) Between Namibia and Germany, Germany has declined to accept the term “reparations” preferring to rather use the phrase, “healing the wounds”.

The Namibian Negotiating Team found the terminology “healing the wounds” inadequate and demand that this issue be discussed under the rubric of a “Reconciliation and Reconstruction Program”.

This comes as the president revealed that the Germans were open to sending a high level delegation to Namibia to apologise for atrocities committed by German troops from 1904 to 1908 against the Ovaherero and Nama.

The Namibian Government established diplomatic relations with the German Government in February 1991 and the German Parliament acknowledged a special moral and historic responsibility towards Namibia.

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