OTJINENE, 05 OCT (NAMPA) -
OvaHerero Chief Vekuii Rukoro has slammed the indifference of the Namibian government on the issue of reparation, claiming that such a stance has weakened the Herero's quest for restorative justice from Germany.
Rukoro made these remarks on Sunday during the 111th commemoration of the extermination order given by a German army leader, General Lothar von Trotha, in the area of present day Otjinene.
The chief delivered his remarks atop the historical hill from which Von Trotha issued his infamous extermination order against OvaHerero and Nama people in 1904.
Rukoro said despite the gains of the fight for reparation by the Hereros and the legitimacy of their claim for reparation, the Namibian government is yet to pronounce itself on the matter. Such a lukewarm stance by Government has, according to him, made it difficult for the Hereros to be heard by the German government.
"Since the German government prefers to dialogue only with our government on this issue, it is now high time that our government pronounce itself on the issue. All it takes is one call from the Namibian government for the Germans to react. They have stood by as bystanders for too long and need to open their mouths on this issue now," Rukoro said.
Despite repeated calls to openly support the cause for reparation, the Namibian government is yet to publicly declare its position on the matter. The absence of such a declaration from Government on the matter has, according to Rukoro, placed those seeking for reparation 'between a rock and a hard place'.
"The issue of reparation cannot be wished away. Perhaps some people are wishing that one day we will stop the call for reparation, but they are mistaken. All OvaHerero want restorative justice for atrocities committed against an innocent nation in its own country," said Rukoro.
The place around the hill from which the extermination order was issued is being developed into a fully-fledged cultural centre, of which the first phase is already completed.
The first phase involves the construction of a house for traditional priests and tribal elders, and the fencing of the entire place. History has it that scores of OvaHerero died in this area, commonly referred to as Ozombuzovindimba, at the hands of pursuing German army soldiers.
Others were driven into the dry parts of the Omaheke, where they either succumbed to thirst or died from drinking from watering holes that were deliberately poisoned by the Germans.