Monday 12 April 2021
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Letter to His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob on Genocide, Apology – Reparation and Restoration

However, the President used his own view and discretion in a ruling manner but failed to govern in the interest of the victims. Thus the victim’s community end up being informed about what have been decided regarding the genocide negotiations that they have single headedly fought for more than a century without their own government support. Everyone including the President thought the Late Riruako was fighting a losing battle but at last his subjects are totally and completely excluded from the negotiations. Your Excellency, the concerned people here are the ones that were killed by the Germans. Their land was confiscated by the perpetrators, their women and children raped, forced to enter into sexual relationships and mercilessly killed, cultural and religious practices compromised, introduced to foreign religions and many others. These are the only Namibian groups that can be found either in Botswana or South Africa even in Angola, who did not go by choice but because their parents were involuntarily forced to seek refuge in those countries during the war. Today, Mr President, you want to claim victory over this issue, only because you contributed politically by virtue of you being a Member of Parliament.

It was this people that spared the lives of the real father of this Nation Paramount Chief Katjikururume Komombumbi Kutako, he survived this as a war victim with a wound on his body and he stayed for more than six months in the mountains of Karibib in 1904.   Remember that, it was the chief council under the leadership of the Royal Highness Katjikurume Komombumbi Kutako that wrote the 1st petition to the United Nations, and it was under him and other Ovaherero community who ensured a successful and swift escape of the 1st President of the Independent Namibia. His Excellency Dr Sam Nujoma escaped this country unnoticed by the then colonisers. The Herero people played a major role in financing the Founding Father’s trip to Botswana. Those in Namibia then liaised well with the Hereros in Botswana to make sure that at every place he had to go through there was a focal person who would accommodate and link him up with the next focal point in the next town until he reached his final destination.

Those communities that hosted you and others when you escape did so under the instructions of the Paramount Chief Katjikururume Komombumbi Kutako and the wind of change that blew across the African continent then and above all because they knew they were refuges  because of the German genocide committed against them and their ancestors. They knew that what they were doing will one day pave way for their return to Namibia and benefit from providing hospitality to their fellow brothers that escaped the country to continue the fight for the independence of Namibia under the custodianship of Chief Kutako. But what is happening right now your Excellency is that you have sidelined the Namibians in Diaspora in the discussions of Genocide Reparation because of the issue of jurisdiction. I suggest therefore that it is very important to engage these community leaders in order to come up with a methodology that will satisfy both parties.

This people have lost land but they never revolted against their government or demonstrated to get their ancestral land back, something you also don’t support because you know that the main beneficiaries if we have to give land back to the people and the real owners are the Ovaherero Damaras San and Namas but you opted for any possible game that will make sure Ovaherero and Namas lose completely in any negotiations either in Land or reparation, a position you demonstrated in 1991 during the land conference of which you were the chairperson. These communities are standing aside looking at all your actions when you are distributing land to everyone who did not lose any single portion of land. The current status quo shows that those who did not lose land have dual land, the one that initially belonged to Ovaherero and Nama.
We know that the Namibian government under the Swapo administrations have signed a bilateral agreement between them and Germany to make sure Genocide apology and Reparation does not see the light of day and Germany will give bilateral Aid to Namibia as part of reparation but in form of Aid for projects and programmes initiated by the Government. Thus the direct exclusion of theaffected community in the negotiations team is a clear sign or indication that the outcome will only be in the interest of the two Governments but not of the affected communities and the direct recipients of the extermination order issued by General Lottor Von Trotha in 1904 and 1905 respectively. My President you know all international legal instruments that govern Genocide and their negotiations but you opted to take the blind side that excludes the real victims.

In Israel, the Knesset fiercely debated whether to accept the reparations from Germany over a three day period in early January 1952. Menachem Begin and the Herut Party were among the most vocal members of the opposition, who considered the reparations offer as blood money.  By the end of the debate, a small majority of 61-50 succeeded in passing the resolution to enter into direct negotiations with West Germany over specific reparations amounts.  Outside the Knesset, thousands of Israeli’s protested and rioted the decision, at times even pelting the plenum building with stones, leading the police to use tear gas to disperse the crowds. We don’t want this to happen in Namibia. Allow the Nama and Ovaherero to negotiate directly with the Germans while our government plays the facilitation role and ensuring that all legal instruments are adhered to and the victims and perpetrators are happy with the deal. The German government in 1904 did not fight the government of Namibia but the Herero and Nama tribes. They did not humiliate the entire Namibian people in the concentration camps but only particular tribal group. We have faith in you and honour you as our President but just borrow us your pride and meet with the Ovaherero and Nama leaders for an amicable and inclusive way forward in the name of Harambee.

Vetaruhe Kandorozu, Regional Councillor Otjozondjupa Region, Member of the Council Management committee, a good governance practitioner and a Deputy Secretary General of the Nudo party of Namibia.

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