Namibia: Govt Under Fire From Ovaherero, Nama

THE Ovaherero and Nama communities this afternoon accused the government of keeping them under the shackles of poverty, and treating them as subservient tribes.

This was said in a joint statement by chief Johannes Isaack of the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) and chief Vekuii Rukoro of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority in reaction to president Hage Geingob's state of the nation address a week ago.

Geingob, in reaction to opposition Popular Democratic Movement leader McHenry Venaani's question on whether they would take Germany to the International Court of Justice if negotiations on reparations failed, said Germany will not pay reparations to line the pockets of individuals, but that country would rather pay for development projects.

Geingob further said the genocide victims must prepare for these projects.

"We have long tolerated the relegation of the Nama and Ovaherero people to subservient status in Namibian society by the Namibian government. Had it not been for our vigilance and hard work, we would be starving or sweeping the streets in places chosen by our president Hage Geingob and his predecessors," said the statement, which was read by Lazarus Kairabeb of the NTLA at a press conference in Windhoek today.

The two leaders also accused Geingob of having a negative stance on the topic of ancestral land and on reparations, while questioning if the government's request for reparations was genuine.

According to the statement, the leadership of both communities are trying their best to prevent their subjects from taking matters into their own hands.

The statement said the projects and development aid from Germany are nothing new, and that over 500 million euro has been given to Namibia already, making demands for reparations null and void, they claimed.

According to them, the government has sold out the victims of the genocide.

The two traditional authorities were also not happy about the appointment of Zed Ngavirue as special envoy on genocide reparations.

"We shall use all means at our disposal to prevail. The legal route we have pursued thus far is one of the options at our disposal. We know where our ancestral land is, and if nothing else works, we shall politely yet resolutely advise the Germans of our intentions to take back our land [...]," the statement read.

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