Namibia: LPM, Nudo Slam Ngavirue Genocide Talks

Herero prisoners of war, around 1900.
14 August 2020

The Landless People's Movement (LPM) and the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) yesterday criticised the ongoing genocide negotiations between Namibia and the German government, asking for the inclusion of people in the diaspora, especially those in Botswana and South Africa.

Their criticism follows Monday's update by Namibia special envoy on genocide Zed Ngavirue to President Hage Geingob.

While updating Geingob, according to a statement issued by the Presidency, Ngavirue said that the special committee directed the technical committee to work with the National Planning Commission (NPC) to identify costed projects for the seven identified regions.

This according to the statement should be in the fields of water provision, rural and peri-urban electrification, road network construction, housing, education, vocational training, value addition, agricultural development and land acquisition. "When you identify seven regions in Namibia and decide that genocide resources will be deployed in the seven regions, you invariably already exclude the diaspora - those colleagues in Botswana, South Africa, the USA and the UK and in many other countries who are excluded from the benefits that will come through reparation," said LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi.

"We are told the projects will be implemented in the seven identified regions where the affected communities predominantly reside, namely //Kharas, Hardap, Khomas, Kunene, Omaheke, Otjozondjupa and Erongo." According to Swartbooi, there is no evidence that government has spoken to the affected communities to verify if those are actually the needs of the people. "What if the people in urban and peri-urban areas would probably also have wanted to sit down and give a listing of the things they want done in their lifetime," he questioned.

Swartbooi recommended specific communities must establish own trust funds with own experts so that funds for skills and infrastructural development can be managed by the communities.

"The specific communities must own the process and manage the trust funds themselves. The Germans should stop sending us expatriates because it shows their lack of trust and confidence in our skills unless it is a scheme to redirect the money back to the German community," said the outspoken leader. Nudo secretary general Josef Kauandenge said the "mickey mouse" negotiations with Germany have come a long way and it is time that the affected communities take the lead in negotiating.

"We are rejecting with the contempt it deserve Germany's reluctance to call this atrocities against the Nama and Ovaherero people genocide. Nothing short of the word genocide will be acceptable to Nudo and our members," Kauandenge said.

Equally, he said, Germany's reluctance to accept the word "reparations" clearly is a well calculated attempt to water down this issue and turn it into a sort of a non-event, insignificant enough to be regarded as a serious act done against the Nama and Ovaherero people.

"The offer or proposal by Germany and the Namibian government to receive funding through regional projects were the descendants reside, will not find any fertile ground amongst the descendants of this genocide and that must be made very clear," said Kauandenge.

"Germany has a moral and legal obligations towards the descendants of this genocide and time and patience is running out amongst the affected communities. We cannot negotiate in perpetuity, somewhere somehow this negotiations must come to an end and a genuine process of redress starts for the benefit of the affected communities."

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