Thursday 15 April 2021
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The Germans have decided

They say whenever one enters negotiations, you must always adhere to three principles.  Number one, never fear to negotiate. Resist your embarrassment or fear of trying. Remember, as we always say- you get in life and business what you negotiate. We don’t approach negotiation as a battle or a competition- so there is nothing to be anxious about or afraid of. Number two, leave some room to compromise. It can be tempting to drive a hard bargain, but this often leaves you too little room to reach an agreement. Number three, get something in return whenever you make a concession. Activate the mindset of “I give you this, you give me that.” There is great danger in giving too many large concessions too early; it is very difficult to recover from this and your results are likely to be poor.
I must say so far the German government-or rather those who spoke on its behalf in recent days- have failed dismally to uphold these principles. The man sent by the German President (Joachim Gauck) as a special envoy in the form of Ruprecht Polenz made a mess of the entire Genocide negotiations while still in its infancy. German ambassador to Namibia, Christian Schlaga, and Polenz made public statements that the German government will not pay reparations in the form of money. Despite their rogue remarks, Namibia must remain steadfast in calling for Germany to acklowledge that the killings were an act of genocide and a formal apology accompanied by reparations. Polenz even went as far as saying they[Germany] already made some proposals on the nature of projects they intend to bring to Namibia. Is he insisting that Namibia has to accept these proposal whether it likes it or not? Polenz also urged the Namibian government to speed up negotiations if they want a result by next year, because his country is going to the polls this year. Is it Namibia’s fault that thousands of Namibians were massacred like wild animals being gunned down by trophy hunters?
For a seasoned former parliamentarian and diplomat to make such uncalled for and uncalculated statements, one has to wonder whether the relations between Namibia and Germany are worth it, unless the German government comes out clean and denounce the utterances made by its messengers. More surprising however, is the fact that the two made the remarks just hours after emerging from a meeting with President Hage Geingob. In that meeting, Polenz handed over a letter to Geingob in which the German president affirms his commitment to ensure that the negotiations are conducted in a fair manner. One can effectively interpret that Polenz does not agree with his appointing authority. Polenz even told Geingob that Germany takes big interest in this[genocide] issue and it wants a good outcome for both countries. “We know we have something to do and we will get to an amicable solution,” said Polenz.
Clearly all this was said in bad faith.
For now we await the outcome of the ‘compromised negotiations’, which signals a tale of groups negotiating in bad faith. As much as we are all worried about the negotiations, the affected groups calling for reparations needs to start preparing themselves to ensure that once the Germans heed their call-they know how it will be disbursed to avoid unwanted squabbles.
Are there mechanisms in place on how the funds will be divided among the affected groups? Who will lead the process? Are the potential beneficiaries listed already or is there room for a Jonny-come-lately? These are all things that needs to be ironed out before the negotiations are concluded.
International media reports indicated that more than 20 countries, including Germany, last month officially recognised the 1915 Armenian Massacre in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide. But none of them has recognised the 1904-1909 genocide of the Herero and Nama in German South-West Africa.” This is pure double-standards by our German brothers and it surely proves right my conviction that its unwillingness to recognize 1904-1908 massacre is primarily motivated by legal fears rather than moral or political ones.

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