6 February 2018

Namibia: We Will Not Rest Until We Get What We Want - Rukoro

Bethanie — Chief of the Ovaherero, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro says the struggle for restorative justice in the form of genocide reparations by the Ovaherero and Nama communities will continue until the affected communities get what they want from the German government.

Speaking during the burial of the late Chief David Frederick at Bethanie, Rukoro said Frederick was one of those who have started the fight for reparations for the genocide, and that while his journey has stopped, the fight for reparations will intensify until victory is achieved.

Rukoro said the late Chief Frederick was one of the few fearless Nama leaders of this century whose legacy and greatest achievement was that of mobilising the Nama communities into one - and together with the Ovaherero communities - took on Germany, to hold that government accountable for the genocide it committed against their ancestors.

Rukoro further said that it is for this that Frederick ranks amongst the best Nama leaders of other centuries such as the iconic Hendrik Witbooi.

He said while one of the pioneers of the fight for restorative justice has fallen, it is now up to the rest to take the fight further, and assured those present that the fight will not end until justice prevails.

"The question is can we afford to betray this legacy? We in the leadership say no, we shall not, and as far as we are concerned it will continue until victory is achieved," Rukoro declared.

He also informed mourners that the German government has declined what the Namibian government proposed in terms of reparation payments, saying it is too expensive and that they instead want to give what they feel is reasonable.

He said the Germans have proposed that they provide affordable housing, solar electricity, affirmative action farms and vocational training centres amongst others as a way to pay back, but Rukoro says this is far from what the victims want.

He further said it is clear that both governments do not know what the victims of the genocide want and that it is therefore important that those affected speak for themselves, saying the Germans cannot dictate what to give.

"The Germans found the list to be too expensive and rejected it, and they said we instead give you this basket, take it to your people and tell them this is what we, the murderers of your people are prepared to give, take it or leave it," he said, adding, "Clearly others do not know what our people want and what our people need, and what we have lost and what our actual demands are."

Rukoro then concluded by promising the late chief that the fight for reparations he has started will continue, no matter what may come, saying the groups are ready for the fight.

"My friend, my father, my hero, you are gone, but the war is not yet over, we will fight them at different levels, we don't know where the court cases will go but we are not worried. We will have to go to plan C if we have to, it is ready, because we are not going to rest until we get what we want," he said.

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