…paints Germany’s decision as ‘racist’
By: Justicia Shipena
The chairperson of the Ovaherero genocide foundation Nandi Mazeingo says the genocide community rejects the apology the German government is yet to tender to Namibia.
Mazeingo’s comments come as the German government on Friday rejected demands to re-negotiate a new reparation deal over the Namibian genocide.
Last year Germany virtually apologised for its role in the slaughter of the Herero and Nama people in Namibia more than a century ago and officially described the massacre as genocide for the first time, as it agreed to fund projects worth over a billion euros.
This deal was signed in May and accepted to pay Namibia €1.1bn (N$18 billion) as reparation for the genocide committed during the colonial era.
The reparation was to be in the form of financial support for Namibia’s development through a program over 30 years through spending on infrastructure, healthcare, and training programs benefiting the impacted communities.
“The apologies that they are said to be coming over to Namibia to offer, it is not going to be accepted. It is rejected before it even comes before it even arrives, that is our position,” said Mazeingo.
The foundation chair said the decision taken by Germany is racist and that it comes as no surprise.
“It is a racist position and we are not surprised. We have not asked for renegotiations, we have asked for a fresh start to all of these talks,” he said.
“Someone is coming to Namibia to apologise, I don’t know to whom, we are not interested because it is not a genuine apology. We reject all of it,” he stressed.
During his state of the nation address, President Hage Geingob lashed out that he has done his part in the genocide negotiations and that officials from Germany will come to Namibia to tender that apology.
However, Mazeingo said the manner in which the talks were held are flawed and that the deal is not in the name of the community affected by the crime.
“And naturally, the outcome of these talks was flawed as well. We were not involved to speak for ourselves, if justice is for us it naturally must be defined by us. So Germany can talk to whoever they want to using their arrogance of power they can to the Namibian government and go ahead and sign this thing but it is not in our name. It is development aid, it has nothing to do with reparation which is the defined penalty for the crime they committed against us,” he adds.
NO GIVING UP
He also stamped that if the community is forced into a corner, it will not surrender and will not compromise on anything, adding that the green party is not in government forever.
“They will come and go. It is a government today but it won’t be a government forever. The foundation will continue to advocate for a genuine resolution.”
He reiterated that the joint declaration is an insult and the community is not party to it.
“We are not going to have any government speak for us, and much so a government that has not sought a mandate from us to speak on our behalf. The government with a Swapo majority has contested so many elections since independence, have they ever talked about genocide and reparations in their manifesto? Their political program does not involve that,” said the Ovaherero genocide foundation.
Meanwhile, member of Parliament Joseph Kauandenge also maintains that it comes as no surprise that Germany rejected a renegotiation.
“We are really surprised that they don’t want to renegotiate because obviously if you sit on the table and negotiate on behalf of people that are still alive and exclude those communities that have been affected by the genocide. What do you expect at the end of the day?” he questioned.
“For us, it is the Germans treating us as blacks. We are perhaps inferior. We have anticipated this to be the case.”
However, Kauandenge said the community will continue to call on the German government to renegotiate.
“Even if it is not now, future generations will still hold them accountable for what they did to the Namibian people,” he said.
When asked whether the Namibian government and the affected community not being on the same page played a role in Germany’s decision, he said the country used this to its advantage.
“When you fragment and divide on this issue obviously Germany will take it and use it to their advantage. This is what we have been calling for saying that we cannot appear to be divided because once we do that and Germany recognises that even these people are divided they will also use that to their advantage. The division has a lot to do with perhaps the change in heart of Germans because they are not united even in the affected communities.”