President refutes stance on genocide

Niël Terblanché

President Hage Geingob, known for his lifelong dedication to nation-building, unity, and progress for Namibia, is vehemently refuting misleading claims surrounding his position on the 1904 genocide.

A freedom fighter, Father of the Namibian Constitution, and the nation’s founding Prime Minister, President Geingob has a storied history of dismantling the oppressive remnants of Apartheid.

According to a statement by the Namibian Presidency, Geingob, as early as 1966, raised issues against the injustices committed by the Apartheid South African regime, especially those involving the genocide by Germany against the Namibian people.

In his 2004 doctoral dissertation, “State Formation in Namibia,” Geingob sheds light on the oppressive nature of German colonialism in Namibia. This work emphatically denounces German “settler colonialism as the worst form of colonialism,” driven by a “virulent racist predicate.” The President’s writings and speeches consistently condemn the colonial era’s atrocities.

Recent unfounded claims suggest that President Geingob, in a lecture delivered on 15 September 2023 at Sciences Po, France, compared the Apartheid regime’s brutality to the genocide inflicted by Germany on the Nama and Ovaherero ethnic groups.

The Presidency categorically states that no such comparison was made.

Both the Apartheid regime and the genocide represent dark periods in Namibia’s history.

According to the statement, the President consistently warns against exploiting the tragedy of genocide for tribal and political motives.

Underlining his commitment to addressing the historical wrongs, President Geingob, in 2015, appointed the late Ambassador Dr Zed Ngavirue as a special envoy for discussions with Germany regarding the 1904–1908 genocide. This led to the May 2021 declaration by the German Government, admitting to and apologizing for the genocide.

The statement said that the President acknowledges that while reparations are crucial, no financial compensation can truly atone for the lives lost.

He recently revisited the topic with the Federal Chancellor of Germany on the margins of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“The Presidency firmly rebukes those who have taken the President’s words out of context for political mileage, especially those who once aligned with the Apartheid regime. They further call on the media to uphold the highest standards of accuracy and fairness in reporting,” the statement reads.

The Presidency gave the assurance that Namibians can be confident that the President remains committed to fostering unity, transparency, and the continuous development of the Namibian Nation.

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