NUDO demands President’s apology for genocide and apartheid remarks

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

Joseph Kauandenge, the General Secretary of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO), is calling for an immediate apology from President Hage Geingob concerning the comments he made on genocide and apartheid a few weeks ago in Europe.

President Geingob, during a public lecture at the Paris Institute of Political Studies in France, was quoted telling the audience that “Apartheid was worse than Genocide.” However, this statement has drawn criticism from various local political leaders. NUDO is now adding to the voices urging President Geingob to retract his remarks. Kauandenge, also a Member of Parliament, asserted that Geingob’s categorization of apartheid as being worse than genocide is “misplaced, illogical, and misguided at best.” Alfredo Hengari, the Press Secretary’s response, has corroborated that the President was not misquoted and made the statement intentionally.

“The response from the Press Secretary to his boss’s statement lacks taste and is insensitive to the descendants of the victims of the said genocide. It is profoundly disappointing that both scholars possess such a narrow definition of what genocide entails and what an extermination order means,” stated Kauandenge. He further commented, “The President is at liberty to play to the international gallery, perhaps to appease the Germans or for whatever reasons he might have, but he should refrain from doing so at the expense of the Ovaherero and Nama people.” Thousands from these communities were lost during one of the country’s darkest chapters.

Kauandenge insisted that the President must openly apologize to the descendants of the Ovaherero and Nama people for this “misguided and tasteless statement.” He claimed, “The President is, in fact, insulting the memory of the late Kaptein Hendrick Witbooi, Samuel Maharero, and the proposer of the motion on genocide, Dr. Kuaima Riruako, in our parliament.”

The opposition parliamentarian has also demanded the ruling party, Swapo, clarify whether the President’s statement reflects the party’s stance. “Apartheid and genocide, both distinct in nature with their own attributes, are incomparable, and claiming apartheid to be worse than genocide is incorrect. The Ovaherero and Nama people, at best, deserve an apology from the President of Namibia,” concluded Kauandenge.

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