Saturday 17 April 2021
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KK: Genocide talks could spark civil war

The genocide negotiations are pushing Namibia closer to the frontlines of political instability which could lead to a civil war if not handled with care, former parliamentarian Kazenambo Kazenambo has cautioned.
As the case genocide continues in the New York, there are many questions lingering in the minds of political observers with observers feeling the issue could push Namibia to the frontline of political instability.
The Ovaherero and Nama are suing the Federal Republic of Germany in the American courts for the genocide committed by that government fueled by how the German government is playing semantics and not admitting the genocide guilt. The genocide took place between 1904 and 1908 in German-occupied South West Africa (today Namibia).
Kazenambo said the lack of clarity over the modality of the case, coupled by unclear negotiating ground rules and sentiments that are devoid of inclusive opinions from the affected communities should not be ignored.
“The victims have lost hope to a point of despair in the negotiations between the Namibian and German government as one wonder what is next after New York. The ground rules remain unclear because Germany continues to deny and play ambiguity in the issue and this complicates the matter further,” said Kazenambo
Kazenambo believes the Ovaherero and Nama case is a beacon of hope and will go down in history as an interesting case study in international law and issues of human rights, however, “the way negotiations are going, there is a need for concern should the results not go the Namibian way.”
Eight decades after the atrocities, a UN report determined that the atrocities constituted an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama people in German South West Africa. The report named the genocide of the Herero and Nama people as one of the biggest genocides of the 20th century. It is thus puzzling, Kazenambo said, why the German government is not forthcoming and making negotiations difficult.
“The Germans are involved in semantics by trying to change genocide to atrocities. It is a humanitarian catastrophe and their political hide and seek game will be producing a powder keg at home. Their insensitive attitude is worsened by the German envoy that is behaving in an undiplomatic manner and the fact that they link the issue of genocide to development aid,” he said.
Kazenambo is optimistic that should the case continue, chances are that the German government will mature to the realisation of the crimes they have committed and “stop playing hide and seek.”
However, should the process pronounce itself that Germany cannot be trailed in a foreign land, Kazenambo is worried of what might become of the situation at home within the affected circles, of which many have already lost hope.
“Let’s hold our breath and fingers crossed that the outcome of the New York case pronounces itself in seeking the way to restore justice. The atrocities that they committed are beyond legal jargons. If these guys decide to move into the farms here, it will be a civil war,” he said.
The firebrand politician argued against those who claim that land belongs to the San community.
“Fair enough, if the German say the land belongs to the San community then why does the San not own land? We must not play hide and seek with such serious matters,” he said.
Kazenambo said the Namibian government risks being isolated if the US courts rule in favor of the affected communities.
“What will government do in that regard, will they abandon their bilateral negotiations and join the affected group or will they continue? That is why I maintain that the negotiations should not be bilateral but rather multilateral. I know the negotiations will not satisfy everyone but the process must not be found wanting and it must not exclude those affected,” he said.
Back to the drawing board
Negotiations of the genocide case have always been under inquiry with a faction of the affected masses claiming no consultative efforts were brought to their attention. Alike, Kazenambo feels it is not too late to revisit to go back to the drawing board.
The vocal former member of parliament said he was one of the many whom initially pointed out that the negotiations where starting off on the wrong premise. He said the matter is multi-territorial and not all consent groups where consulted.
“We need a consultative process that makes sure that majority buy into the idea. We needed the ground rules on who will represent everyone in a manner that is representative. It’s not up to the Namibian government to decide how the victims feel or how they ought to be represented. The victims remain the victims regardless of who represents them, but they ought to speak for themselves.”
This shortcoming, Kazenambo said, may haunt the negotiations process and have a negative influence on the outcome.
He also questioned the monetary value the government recently pronounced as payable for the genocide saying the affected were not consulted.
“We need a healing time and a proper consultative process. The monetary claims that the government is speaking about, who did the government speak to? Who determined the monetary cost of rape, torture, those beheaded, livestock and land lost? Who put that price tag on these things and who did they sit with?” queried Kazenambo.

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