Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Is Germany dictating genocide negotiation terms?

“One does not enter into negotiations with a community and people you have attempted to exterminate by setting conditions which look to guide the end result of the negotiation process,” DTA of Namibia president McHenry Venaani cautioned.

He said this in a media statement released today, just days after the German Ambassador to Namibia Mathias Schlaga, as well as the German Special Envoy for the German- Namibian Dialogue on the Nama and OvaHerero Genocide of 1904-1908 Ruprecht Polenz, both came out in the last week with statements which, according to Venaani, ‘suggests that negotiations are not being done in good faith’ “The affected communities have been calling for this dialogue on reparations to happen since Namibia attained her independence with no response from the German government and yet after waiting for over two decades, it is now the German government who are setting deadlines by when negotiations must be finalized, said Venaani.

According to Venaani: “Moreover, without explicitly contesting whether reparations in the form of “developmental aid/projects” is the correct path to go, it is disingenuous to enter negotiations with the stance that the German government will only consider reparations in that form. This is a condition which seeks to pre-empt the end result of the negotiation process and is thus not in good faith.” The reparations proposed in the form of developmental aid may not be specifically targeted at the affected communities, but amount to ordinary development aid is another distressful factor said Venaani.

“This is no different from the developmental aid Germany and many other countries have been giving Namibia over the years. Which leaves one wondering, should the end result take this format, how does one distinguish German development aid under the cloak of genocide reparations to developmental aid from any other country, and even other developmental aid from Germany? What unique character will it have, and should this unique character not be based on the unique character of the descendants of the victims of the genocide?”

Venaani explained that in principle he does not oppose attempts to accelerate the negotiation process. “However, such acceleration should be done in good faith and should not be open to potentially being perceived as a mockery of the pain and anguish that the affected communities carry with them till this day.”

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