14 September 2017

Namibia: Reparations Demands Could Top N$1,2 Trillion

Photo: Wikipedia
Herero prisoners of war, around 1900.

Germany might end up paying N$1,2 trillion if government and the Ovaherero Traditional Authority's demands succeed.

The government has proposed that the German government pays N$400 billion, while the traditional authority yesterday said they would ask for N$800 billion.

The Ovaherero Traditional Authority's secretary general, Mutjinde Katjiua, yesterday said if government continued to exclude them from the negotiations and is paid N$400 billion, they would demand double that amount.

Katjiua said this on the sidelines of the conference held at the Commando Hall in Katutura, Windhoek, where the leadership informed the public of other Nama/Ovaherero skulls found in the United States of America recently.

Paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro labelled the German government as "racist and in cahoots" with the Namibian government to neutralise their "genuine" reparation demands, and marginalise the Ovaherero/Nama people.

Rukoro did not attend the meeting, but the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation's chairperson Utjiua Muinjangue read the paramount chief's statement.

Rukoro said they would exhaust all possible legal means at their disposal, but if they fail, "we know where our land is".

Nama Technical Committee on Genocide chair and member of parliament Ida Hofmann said government and the other groups fighting for reparations started their campaign late in 2006.

The genocide foundation's secretary, Nokokure Kambanda, said they should move away from the perception that the Germans were helping Ovaherero and Nama communities.

"They [Germans] have been taking more out of Namibia. How can you say I should be grateful?" she asked.

Government's special envoy, Zed Ngavirue, yesterday confirmed the idea of starting a trust fund.

"As announced by German ambassador Christian Schlaga, it is indeed true that among Germany's response to Namibia, there is an idea for a trust fund," he said.

Ngavirue said, however, government was not in cahoots with Germany because they had not yet discussed the proposals.

The German ambassador declined to comment.

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