The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: COD Wants Tougher Stance On Genocide

THE Congress of Democrats has applauded Prime Minister Hage Geingob for having told German ambassador to Namibia Onno Huckmann not to silence Namibians about their demands for genocide reparations.

CoD president Ben Ulenga also urged the government to toughen its stance on genocide reparations and to declare it a national issue.

Last week Wednesday, Huckmann paid a courtesy call on Geingob and remarked that although Germany would not forget its colonial history with Namibia, harping on the subject of reparations could tarnish the "flourishing" bilateral relations between the two countries. He apparently also called on Namibians to accept the call by the German government for reconciliation in order to move past the sad episode of genocide against mainly the Ovaherero and Nama tribes.

Reacting to that, Geingob said reconciliation was built on the admission of wrongdoing as a first step to mending the atrocities committed.

"We cannot stop people from talking about reparations. It is their right to do so. People are paining. They are hurt when they see skulls. Where are the skulls coming from? Let us handle this issue carefully and not tell people not to talk about it," Geingob was quoted as saying. He said if people were not allowed to talk they would resort to other means in order to show their anguish.

Addressing a media briefing on the issue in Oshakati, Ulenga commended Geingob for his stance but added that such attitude should also be taken by the Namibian government.

"We, from the CoD, are calling on the Namibian government to declare it a national issue and that it is not seen as only an issue between the Hereros and the Namas, but as an issue of all Namibians," Ulenga said.

According to Ulenga this issue must be discussed in Parliament with the aim to make it a national issue.

"The era of tribalism is gone in Namibia and we have to go as one Namibia, one nation. I think this issue must also be taught in schools for the whole nation to be aware of it," Ulenga said.

"People do not fight a liberation struggle as one group but as a nation."

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