Genocide committee lauds Ngavirue's appointment

09 Nov 2015 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 09 NOV (NAMPA) – Members of the OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu Genocide Technical Committee have applauded the appointment of Zed Ngavirue as special envoy to lead deliberations with the German Government on the 1904 genocide.
Between 24 000 and 100 000 OvaHerero and 10 000 Nama people died during the genocide of 1904-1908 at the hands of the German colonial forces in Namibia. This was considered to be the first genocide of the 20th century.
In an interview with Nampa on Monday, Utjiua Muinyangue, a member of the OvaHerero and OvaMbanderu Genocide Technical Committee, lauded the Namibian Government and welcomed the appointment of the special envoy.
She said Ngavirue is the best man to lead the genocide discussions because he hails from the communities affected by the genocide.
“We do not doubt Dr Zed Ngavirue's personal expertise and skills in respect of the genocide reparations negotiations and other related discussions with the German Government. He is in a better position to lead the Namibian delegations during the negotiations with the German Government because he is from the same communities that suffered as a result of the atrocities committed by the German colonial troops in Namibia,” Muinyangue said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah on 04 November 2015 announced Ngavirue's appointment in the National Assembly, saying numerous meetings with officials of the German Government have brought the conversation to a formal point of intensifying talk.
Ngavirue is a veteran politician, first in support of Swanu of Namibia and then the Swapo Party under which he was a party representative.
He also served as Namibia’s Ambassador to Sweden from 1990 to 1993, a country he lived in as an asylum seeker during the 1960’s and 70’s. He was also appointed by Namibia’s first president, Sam Nujoma as Director-General of the National Planning Commission (NPC) in the early 1990s.
Meanwhile, Muinyangue called for the inclusion of all representatives of the communities affected by the genocide in the talks between the Namibian and German governments on issues of genocide and reparations.
“We want the leaders and the representatives of the victims of the genocide to be part of the Namibian team in the talks with the German Government. We are totally against negotiations without the involvement of the descendants of the victims of the 1904 genocide.
“It is our hope and belief that the special envoy will cater for the inclusion of all the affected groups. We are positive to see the genocide negotiations and discussions involving all the stakeholders,” said Muinyangue.
On the same appointment issue, the leadership of Swanu has also expressed their satisfaction with the government's decision.
“We are proud that Dr Ngavirue was chosen to lead deliberations with the German Government on the genocide issue. It is a great task that needs a person of Ngavirue's ability. Knowing that Ngavirue is a recognised veteran of the Namibian liberation struggle, we trust that he has the full credentials to engage with the German authorities on genocide issues,” said Swanu's National Organising Secretary, Unaani Kawami in a media statement availed to Nampa on Monday.
Kawami stressed that the leadership of his party wants the Namibian Government to make sure that all the communities or groups affected by the genocide are included in negotiations.
“We would like to advise Ngavirue and the Namibian Government to make sure that they will not negotiate about the affected communities without the representatives of the affected communities,” said Kawami.
The descendants of OvaHerero, OvaMbanderu and the Nama people gather at the cemetery in Okahandja, 68 kilometres north of Windhoek, each year to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the genocide, led by German colonial forces' leader, Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha.
The genocide was characterised by widespread death from starvation and thirst, and the Herero people who fled the violence were prevented from leaving the Namib Desert.
It is reported that the German colonial army had systematically poisoned wells and waterholes in the Namib Desert at the time.
On 19 September 2006, the Namibian Parliament unanimously adopted a motion calling for reparation negotiations with Germany for the genocide committed against OvaHerero, OvaMbanderu and the Nama people.
The late OvaHerero Paramount Chief, Kuaima Riruako tabled the motion on reparations in the NA at the time.