By: Hertha Ekandjo
The Nama Traditional Leaders Associations Authority (NTLA) and Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) say President Hage Geingob’s outburst on genocide during the State of the Nation Address (SONA), this month, broke the law.
They further say that Geingob did not look at international instruments and the Namibian constitution.
Geingob, during SONA in parliament on 6 April, lauded that he had done his part in the genocide negotiations. He also questioned why the government was treated like it was the one that had committed genocide.
According to NTLA and OTA, the government has bridged articles 1, 25 and 27 of the international covenant on civil rights and political rights, to which Namibia has been bound to since 1994.
They said government did this by disregarding the two traditional authorities’ right to participate in the negotiations between Germany and Namibia concerning the Nama, Herero genocide.
NTLA Secretary-General, Deodart Dirkse, told The Villager that Geingob had previously stated that negotiations were at a stalemate, yet a year later, the government announced a deal worth N$20 billion over 30 years.
NTLA and OTA said that the negotiations failed to comply with international standards related to the right to remedies and reparations for victims of gross human rights abuses.
“The agreement avoids comprehensively acknowledging Germany’s legal responsibility for its colonial legacy and abstain from including the term reparation.
“Even if the Namibian government did not commit genocide against the Nama and Ovaherero people, it has a legal duty to identify and reform state standards, structures, and processes that perpetuate oppression, violence, exclusion, and exclusion the racism that affects those people,” said the two authorities in a joint statement.
They urged Geingob not to make a mistake again after seeing the light of trying to negotiate with the Germans on their behalf and that they will not be technical advisors on a matter that affected their lives.
NTLA and OTA told Geingob that as much as the sitting President of all Namibians, including Ovaherero and Namas, the Nama and Ovaherero Genocide is also an international matter, as there are Herero and Nama people in the diaspora as a result of genocide.
“The President of the Republic of Namibia, Dr Hage Geingob, we are angry because everything you have done concerning the handling of the Ovaherero and Nama genocide is bad. You have deviated from the letter and spirit of the Namibian National Assembly Resolution of the 26 October 2006 and replaced it with the government to government or the bilateral principle,” they said.
NTLA and OTA demanded an international claims conference. “Work with us, not against us, lest we risk making the people even angrier,” said NTLA.
Geingob, during SONA, was agitated with how the masses reacted to the deal government announced with Germany last year. He said what is dividing Namibia and the German government now is the cost, which, he said, we never accepted. “We all have been rejecting it. Sometimes I even said that it is an insult to us, but they kept on raising it,” said Geingob.
Geingob further adds that the Namibian government has disagreed on N$20 billion that could be negotiated. “Why are people angry with this government? Why? Did we commit genocide? It is unfair to be angry with this government,” he questioned.