Government must hasten declaration of
28 May as Genocide Remembrance Day

Staff Writer

Ovaherero and Ovambanderu traditional leaders will work towards the government accelerating the declaration of 28th May as Genocide Remembrance Day.

Although they must still come to a unison understanding and interpretation of the Joint Declaration (JD) between the Namibian government and its German counterpart, the traditional leaders, recognised and unrecognised, are of the consensus that they need and must speak with one voice on the vexed issue of Genocide, Apology and Reparations.

Especially in continuing to appeal to their Namibian government, and impress and prevail upon its good sensibility, magnanimity and sensitivity regarding the sanctity of the genocide question, and their uncompromising position that the blood of their ancestors, which as much waters Namibian freedom, is not to be sacrificed on the political altar of Bilateralism between the Namibian government and Germany.

In this regard on Sunday morning, after a Genocide Stakeholders Consultative Meeting at the Farm Okandjoze, about 90 kilometres northeast of Okahandja, the chiefs signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), known as the Okandjoze Memorandum of Understanding on Genocide, Apology and Reparation. The meeting, an initiative of chiefs Tjinaani Maharero of the Maharero Royal Traditional Authority, and Manasse Zeraeua of the Zeraeua Royal Traditional Authority, has been coming for some times now, lately from 12-14 August when it was scheduled for Omatjete in the Daures Constituency on the Erongo Region and seat of the Zeraeua traditional authority.

It is not coincidental that the meeting eventually took place on Saturday at Okandjoze. Historically it was the main centre of the Ovaherero leadership in Omuramba under the leadership of Captain Zemuundja Kandirikirira (1853-1894). Hence the traditional burial place of the eminent Otjirera clan. The last Kandirikirira/Otjirera elder protégé to laid to rest there being Gerson Kandirikirira last July. Only earlier this year the Ancestral Land Foundation of Namibia (Aflon) appealed to the Namibian government to restore the land to its historical owners. Among them the Tjirera clan who have made submissions regarding their ancestral land rights claims.

As it would behoove Otjiherero and Otjimbanderu culture, custom and tradition, being a historic and thus sacred place where ancestors have been buried, Chief Maharero led a group of delegates to the meeting to the burial site for a moment of silence and reverence to the ancestors. Summoning their ancestral spirits and making them aware of their presence and historic mission to this sacred place. The essence thereof, which was a retreat here to pave the way forward in their demand for the acknowledgement of their genocide by colonial Germany, the redemption of their blood and return of their dispossessed land. To which they need ancestral blessing and intervention given the continued intransigence by the German government. As well as wisdom and fortitude for them as descendants, and to let the Namibian government to ultimately, sooner rather than later, see the essence, nobility and sacredness of their cause.

Chiefs Maharero and Zeraeua have been part of the negotiation process with Germany, led by the Namibian government through its Special Envoy, late Dr Zed Ngavirue, but have rejected the Joint Declaration (JD). Joining them at the Okandjoze meeting were chiefs Sam Kambazembi, Turimuro Hoveka, Janee Mujahere from the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and chief of Otjimbingue, Paramount Chief Karikondua Nguvauva, Rikurura Kukuri and a representative of the Mireti Royal House Traditional Authority. All who have not been part of the negotiation process but who have from its inception in principle rejected it and have also rejected its outcome, the JD.

The full details of the MOU would be made known to the public through the media briefing on Wednesday in Windhoek.

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