We don’t trust our government- Rukoro on genocide

OvaHerero Paramount Chief, Vekuii Rukoro has maintained that there is evidence of government having sabotaged the payment of reparations to the OvaHerero and Nama from the genocide case. 

Rukoro who introduced himself at a University of Namibia public lecture alongside Professor Henning Melber as the Sam Nujoma of the genocide against the German government, indicated that there were many reasons why he lacked trust in the government.   

He said serious allegations have been made of secret agreements made soon after independence involving the Namibian government in a report by a reputable German foundation penned by Professor Jan Grofe, titled The prospects of success for the OvaHerero lawsuit against the Deutsche Bank for crimes committed during the German colonial times. 

The said agreement which involved development aid coupled with aid given to the liberation movement has made the payment of reparations to the OvaHerero and Namas void, said Rukoro quoting from the report.  

“Do you understand what I mean?” queried the paramount chief to an audience in the auditorium of the university.  

 He said money pumped into a special initiative fund set by a German minister in 2004 dedicated for the areas and people affected by the genocide was found by an audit to have been redirected for other purposes. 

“Our people didn’t benefit. Go to the Namas and the OvaHerero today, the Germans have satisfied themselves that enough has been done. That money, in (its) billions has not flown to our areas. I don’t know where it has gone.”

“To such an extent that now in the discussions they are having with Dr. Ngavirue, the Germans themselves are insisting that a special fund they are now proposing this time around must be exclusively dedicated for the areas of the people they murdered because they have learnt a bitter lesson that tax payers’ money has been used for purposes not intended” he rapped. 

He said there was no need to be represented by a government that does not represent their own interests. 

“But more importantly, international law principles, international law conventions, United Nations legal principles all of which through the automatic application of our constitution have been domesticated, says that we the descendants of the people who were murdered by Von Trotha have the full right to represent ourselves,” he said. 

International law conventions adopted by the United Nations also support this notion, Rukoro indicated.

“What is the crime that we are being accused of that insisting on this entitlement equals to undermining the right of our government to represent us? And that doing so, somehow, we are now tribalist? This reminds me of the days when liberation fighters like Sam Nujoma in fighting for our independence were called what? Terrorists!”

“Guys, we are simply trying to claim our legitimate, lawful entitlement in a democratic country. Nothing more, nothing less. That’s what it is all about,” he said. 

He has further stamped that up to now, the Germans have not accepted that the extermination of the OvaHerero and Nama constituted a genocide, “And that we are going to apologise for genocide!”

Visiting professor at the University of Cape Town, Henning Melber, also put in with an impassioned presentation that the fact that what happened more than a century ago does not need any one to define as it is open secret that a genocide was committed. 

“28 years of independence we are further away from reconciliation than 28 years ago. I am not unpacking as an academic. Why would I have to explain to you what you know? That what happened, more than 110 years ago was a genocide committed to several groups of Namibian people living in this country? I don’t have to,” he said to applause. 

Because of the tenacity with which the Germans make their argument it needs to be stated that the way in which they minimise African suffering is contrary to the weight of historical evidence and the conclusion of most recent research, said Melber quoting a German scholar. 

Melber suggested that while the scars of genocide were a living reality in the day to day lives of ordinary Namibians, it was unfortunately, “And painfully so not at all present in Germany and hardly present among the White German speaking community in Namibia.”