Friday 18 June 2021
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Genocide descendants hold their breath

The future of Namibia’s bid to claim reparations from Germany for the 1904-08 genocide committed against the Namas and Hereros pretty much hinges on what a US court will decide later this month.
The legal team of the affected Herero and Nama communities brought forward the matter to the New York courts following Germany’s diplomatic flip-flopping and its refusal to regard the mass killings as a genocide, but rather atrocities.
Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro leaves for New York next week to attend the ruling for the hearing in which the court will decide whether Germany can be tried on foreign soil. The case is set for the judge to hear legal arguments and decide on the issue of jurisdiction on 31 July.
Although he expects a favourable outcome, Rukoro said he is also ready for the worst.
The affected groups have, since the start of the government to government negotiations, signaled fraying allegiance to the Namibian government and opined that the multilateral talks are without substance because it excludes the affected communities. Political analysts and observers have also weighed in on the negotiations between the under-fire Namibian government representatives and the German government saying the issue could spark political instability and in a worse case, a civil war in the country.
“We started a long process with Germany throwing all kinds of legal tricks and impediments, trying to evade justice and at most even refusing to come to court. Since they were not forthcoming, we put in an application for default judgement. We know they have no defense to the charge we brought, and that is why they were running,” said Rukoro during an interview this week.
“We are looking forward to hearing whether we are ultimately going to find justice in the USA. Although people on the ground are tired, we have not lost hope. Our case is very solid and we believe in our course. I’m hopeful but also prepared for the worse,” said a hopeful Rukoro.
“Even if the court gives us an adverse decision; so what? The New York challenge is just another struggle for us. We must not be under the illusion that an adverse decision in New York will make the struggle of genocide recourse bid lose hope. The Germans have to deal with us. So we will launch another level of struggle against the Germans and even against our own government if it continues to be in partnership with the Germans,” warned Rukoro.
“They [Germans] killed our people intentionally, took our land and livestock without compensation and then dumped us into generational poverty over centuries. So what is so hard to admit guilt for their actions and pay reparation like they have done for the people of Israel?” asked Rukoro.
The matter of genocide was brought to the National Assembly by the late Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako in 2006 asking national assembly to declare Germany accountable for the genocide.
“Instead of implementing the National Assembly resolution being implemented, the former Cabinet started a bilateral process with the Germans which deliberately set out to exclude the representatives of the decedents and victim groups.”
The same process, according to Rukoro, has also seen the Namibian government budging to the pressure of the German government which has reduced the matter to simply a foreign policy issue under their Africa department.
“Our State has always tried to be an ally of the German government to our disappointment. They have been negotiating with the German government for a diplomatic solution on our behalf without our permission and against our wishes. On this one, our government has no mandate from us because we know that they will get a raw and useless deal from the Germans.
The spirit from our government here has been that as long as we can get enough money to solve our budgetary problems, then we are ok. We don’t share those sentiments.”
“Whatever deal they managed to come up with the Germans, that deal is not going to stick because frankly it is not going to be for us. I don’t know where that deal is going to be implemented.
It will not be implemented here, at least not while we are alive,” Rukoro.
Rukoro validated claims that there is a lack of unity between the affected groups which could influence the entire process.
Confidential documents seen by The Patriot reveal that government has come to the conclusion to slap the German government with a N$510 billion reparation bill for damages, deaths, livelihood and land losses that resulted from the 1904-08 Genocide.

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