Namibia: Govt Not Desperate for Genocide Money - Mbumba

Tens of thousands of Namibians, mainly the Nama and Ovaherero, were killed in what is called the first genocide of the 20th century.

Government has refuted claims by naysayers that it is desperate to get its hands on genocide reparation money to finance its developmental agenda.

Vice President Nangolo Mbumba last week, while giving an update on the outcome of the genocide negotiations between the Namibian and German governments, gave his reassurance that the genocide reparation money or projects will not be used for government programmes and activities.

Following news that the Namibian government accepted the Euro 1.1 billion (roughly N$18 billion) offered by the German government as reparation for the genocide committed against the Ovaherero and Nama communities between 1904 and 1908, several leaders from affected groups including the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) and Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) rejected the deal.

They not only said the amount is an insult but also further accused the 'broke' government of wanting to get its hands on the money to implement its developmental goals instead.

Mbumba, however, denied that this is the case, saying the two governments have agreed to set up a body as an implementation vehicle that will be responsible for the implementation of the reparation programmes.

"To those who are alleging that the amounts will be used for other government programmes and activities, we wish to reassure them that this will not happen. Our government processes and systems are transparent, and the amounts allocated to the affected communities will be solely dedicated to the implementation of the agreement," the VP stated.

He said the money will be deposited in a fund that is separate from the government's national budget and the governance of the fund will be trilateral, composed of representatives from both governments and the affected communities.

Mbumba further said a legal framework for the implementation vehicle will be developed in a transparent manner and the affected communities will fully participate.

The widely contested amount will be allocated over a 30-year period to implement projects in the Erongo, Hardap, //Kharas, Kunene, Khomas, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa regions, where the affected communities reside.

About N$820 million will go towards reconciliation, N$2.1 billion towards renewable energy, N$2.4 billion towards vocational training, N$1.6 billion towards rural roads, N$2.1 billion towards rural water supply and sanitation and N$8.8 billion towards land acquisition and training.

The deal will head to the National Assembly for debate, final approval, or rejection.

- Nampa

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