We reject govt at the negotiation table: Rukoro

19 Feb 2016 16:40pm
WINDHOEK, 19 FEB (NAMPA) – If the Namibian Government continues with its “puppet-type” advisory, the descendants of the victims of the 1904-1908 genocide are ready to implement its “programme of massive positive action”.
This was said by the Paramount Chief of the OvaHerero Traditional Authority, Vekuii Rukoro during a media briefing on the reparation issue in the capital on Wednesday.
Representatives of the descendants of the genocide victims have been pushing for direct dialogue - which does not involve the government - with Germany as they are of the opinion that they bore the brunt of the genocide directly.
They believe they are entitled to reparation by the present German Federal Government and the estates of Emperor Wilhelm II and Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha for the atrocities committed during the genocide.
Germany, on the other hand, prefers dialogue through the Namibian Government.
“If we cannot be allowed to peacefully negotiate our reparations with the German Government which is willing and ready to sit down with us, then we are left with no choice but to launch our own self-help reparations programme to satisfy the needs of our people.
“Yes, there will be chaos, but the author of that chaos is this time not the commander-in-chief of the German armed forces, but the commander-in-chief of the Namibian Defence Force [President Hage Geingob],” Rukoro said.
The genocide claimed over 80 000 lives of which the majority were Ovaherero. Some 10 000 people of Nama descent also died at the hands of the German colonial forces under the leadership of Von Trotha.
Rukoro, who has been leading the reparation demands after the death of Ovaherero Paramount Chief and Parliamentarian Kuaima Riruako, described the matter of reparations as a serious issue that deserves the utmost respect and acknowledgement from the German Government.
“To the German government we say the following: You have obligations under international protocols and conventions to deal with us directly. If you think you can pay our reparation through a proxy and on terms not agreed with us, know from this day onward that you are doing that at your own risk because our demand for reparations would continue and will in no way be cancelled or nullified by dealing with an unauthorised agent,” Rukoro said.
He went on to say no other group in Namibia can claim to have faced a fate similar to that endured by the Ovaherero and Nama at the hands of the German colonial forces.
Rukoro said the atrocities led to severe losses which are present to this day, such as poverty and marginalisation which constitute the reparation demands as a form of “restorative justice”.
He called on the victims of the genocide to return to their villages, towns and cities and to “be ready for action”.
“Unless of reasonable and peaceful demand for democratic inclusion and participation in our own case is granted, we shall have no option but to do what oppressed people all over the world throughout history has done – to become our own liberators!” Rukoro said.