Joint Declaration debate must have no sham heroes/heroines nor villains

This May the Namibian government and its German counterpart have been purported to have reached an agreement on Genocide, Apology and Reparations. An agreement which has since seen a stage managed opposing views among the descendants of the survivors of the 1904-1908 Genocide of the Nama, Ovambanderu and Ovaherero.

With a section of the affected communities embracing the deal, despite having reservations about it, especially the quantum of N$18 billion offered by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany. Not as reparations as some close to the negotiations have been maintaining but as a goodwill gesture towards helping a former colony-cum-development partner, termed the Reconciliation Fund. A section of the affected communities, obviously prompted behind the scenes and political closed doors by the government apparatchiks, see this gesture as a window of opportunity for further negotiating an improved and/or incremental grant. Despite the Joint Declaration between the two governments being categorical this is a final gesture from Germany in terms of her avowed historic responsibility pertaining to atrocities committed to the indigenous communities during colonial Namibia under Imperial Germany.

Still another section of the affected communities has totally rejected the purported Agreement, pointing out that it falls short of Germany truly and honestly acknowledging the genocide committed against their forebears, not to mention the pitifulness of the amount, describing it as not only an insult to them as descendants, but to the sacrifices of their forebears, some of whom paid with the highest price, their blood and lives.

Since news of the deal, kinsmen and women, all descendants of the genocide, have emerged at diametrically opposite positions and viewpoints. With each, it seems, in pole positions trying to become a hero/ heroine of and/or saviour of a kind of the affected communities. Some by stopping if not convincing the Government from pushing ahead and sealing the deal with its German counterpart. Others in supporting the Government in sealing the deal. The government itself even becoming a hero/heroine of a kind by sealing the deal, and seeming to have delivered the illusive reparations.

But until both sections of the affected communities rally forces either way, whether in terms of embracing the deal, and/or rejecting it as one unit, none shall ever be the man or woman who cometh with the hour. Because if the Government pushes the deal through, it would be mistaken that it has done so on behalf of all the affected communities. But rather essentially and illegitimately so on its own autocratic, selfish and insensitive behalf and a minority section of the affected communities. Given the prevailing lack of consensus within the affected communities, the Government of Namibia clearly does not and cannot claim to have a legitimate mandate of the affected communities to seal the deal.

This is essentially a zero some game that will neither produce heroes nor villains as long as a section of affected communities are perceive to be tools in the hands of one or the other power that be, especially the Government, if not also at the same time of the German government. As long as the issue of genocide and reparations, rather than being intrinsic to itself as it is supposed to be, to the best memories of those who were made to perish, as opposed to being a quick cash cow for some, including the Namibian government, against the good memories of the fallen heroes and heroines, none can really emerge as a hero/heroine nor villain. Not while posturing deceitfully in the name of the upliftment of the descendants. In the name of the affected communities has now become the buzzword of all and sundry, Namibia’s greedy money kleptomaniacs not excepting.

Surely it must by now have become more than obvious to the Namibian government that there has been a groundswell opinion against the deal. From within the country herself, and also outside, especially in countries like Botswana and South Africa, with a not so negligible number of descendants of genocide, albeit full Botswana and South African citizens who in the context of genocide can still be regarded as refugees and thus equal rightful claimants of reparations.

It is only flabbergasting that the Namibian government cannot and/or has not been able to fathom this indisputable fact. Not only this but it is beyond any rational why our Government is hell bent on pushing through the deal, as it seems to be, against the best wishes and interests, as understood and defined by the affected communities themselves.

While our Government was, by the 2006 Resolution of the National Assembly, intended to be a mere facilitator, and at best to be acting in the best interests of the affected communities, it looks our Government has become a party with somehow a direct interest. Surely, if acting in the best qualified interests of her citizenry, our Government duly must have a direct interests. But when it has started to confuse her own interests with that of its citizenry, the affected communities, with the interests of the affected communities no longer first and paramount, than the affected communities understandably, can no longer have trust and confidence in their Government.

This is actually the stage where we are now with our Government no longer carrying the trust and confidence of most of the affected communities. Given this state of affairs, it means our Government can no longer represent them and has no right to. The Government can only legitimately represent its citizenry, the affected communities, if they continue to agree with its approach on the matter. It is as clear as daylight that our Government at this juncture does not look at the issue of genocide and reparations with the same looking glass as the majority of the affected communities. Essentially in this regard only acting on behalf of a minority of the affected communities as it seems and is undeniable. Not to mention the fact that there has been all along a section of the affected communities insisting on direct representation by their own chosen and anointed representatives, a fact the Government has been ignoring, thereby denying the affected communities an inalienable rights in terms of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


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