Namibia: Germany to Finally Apologise for Genocide

Prime Minister of the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein and president of the Federal Council Daniel Günther at a Swakopmund graveyard monument erected to commemorate the victims of the colonial concentration camp there (file photo).

The German government has acknowledged the mass killings of the Nama and Ovaherero, more than 100 years ago as genocide and willing to apologise to affected communities, President Hage Geingob has said.

Geingob made the revelation during the questions and answer session following his state of the nation address yesterday in the National Assembly while responding to a question posed by Nudo leader Esther Muinjangue, who wanted an update on the issue.

While Germany has previously acknowledged "moral responsibility" for the killings, it has avoided making an official apology for the massacres to avoid compensation claims.

"I am not supposed to say this but genocide issue has moved now, I got a report yesterday (Wednesday) of how far they are now and it is said the Germans will come around and they have agreed whatever happen some 100 years ago is tantamount to genocide," Geingob told lawmakers. He said the German government has agreed at the higher level to come to Namibia and apologise.

"Maybe here in parliament and I hope you won't attack them," he said. "We should stand together. We shouldn't give the Germans a chance to divide us. Germans shouldn't laugh at us, let us stand together."

In 2015, veteran politician Zed Ngavirue was appointed by President Geingob as special envoy to lead deliberations with the German government on the 1904-1908 genocide.

In October 1904, Lothar von Trotha, then commander-in-chief of the German colonial protection force in German South West Africa, informed the Ovaherero in a letter that they were no longer German subjects and therefore had to leave the country.

Up to 100 000 Ovaherero and Nama are believed to have been killed by German imperial troops in the early 1900s in what was then the German colony of South West Africa.

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