OTA, NTLA rubbishes Katjirua’s stance …as Rukoro calls for referendum

Kandjemuni Kamuiiri

The Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) and Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) have rubbished the announcement by Chairman of the Ovaherero-Ovambanderu and Nama Council for Dialogue (ONCD) 1904-1908, Gerson Katjirua, saying he does not have the authority to speak for the broader majority of the Ovaherero and Nama descendants of the genocide victims.

Katjirua on Thursday morning, claimed that, “we as the entire council are not here to reject the offer, we are here to give it a go ahead, adding that “we would like to see that when the declaration is signed, we as the chiefs representing the victims and the descendants need to be signatories to such declaration for us to be 100% sure that we are party to the whole process.”

Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, said, “Katjirua was speaking in his capacity as chairman of the Ovambanderu and Nama Technical Committee which has been coopted into the structures of the Namibian government since the beginning.”

“As such, he is not credibly speaking on behalf of the broader majority of the Ovaherero and Nama descendants of the genocide victims.” Rukoro challenged Government to submit the reconciliation and reconstruction agreement in its present form to a referendum for the approval or rejection by the affected communities before tabling it in Parliament.

“Given the significance of this matter to the descendants of the genocide victims, we challenge the Namibian government to submit this so-called reconciliation and reconstruction agreement (in its present form) to a referendum for the approval or rejection by the Ovaherero and Nama communities, prior to tabling it in Parliament! I guarantee you it will be rejected with an overwhelming 90% majority!”

“We are vehemently opposed to this agreement. The negotiations must be started de novo (over) with the legitimate representatives of the victim communities participating in their own right and not as ad hoc “advisors” to Government’s Special Envoy.”

“We salute those few Royal House Chiefs who, at the last minute, realised that the Namibian government is busy selling them out, and resolved NOT to approve the racist and Neo-Colonialist Agreement.”

Nama Traditional Leaders Association Secretary General, Deodat Dirkse, said he has got no idea who Katjirua was. “I don’t know this person but he is most certainly not representing the Nama community at all. He has got nothing to say about the Nama people. I don’t know who gives him the right to speak on behalf of Nama or on behalf of all descendants. Is he sort of attacking or destroying our dignity or what?”

“I don’t know if his mind is okay but it’s not good. The Nama Traditional Leaders Association is the umbrella body of all the Nama traditional authorities and our position is very clear,” Dirkse said.

The Nama SG insisted that the grouping will not approve an agreement which it was never party to.

“We have no idea what they discussed, how they discussed it and what the outcome was. As far as NTLA is concerned, this was a bilateral agreement or rather discussion. We don’t know in what circumstance they reached that agreement but please we will represent ourselves,” he said.

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