Geingob made a leadership mistake: Venaani

05 Apr 2016 21:20pm
WINDHOEK, 05 APR (NAMPA) – DTA of Namibia President McHenry Venaani says President Hage Geingob made a “scholarly and leadership mistake” to argue that the genocide debate is not a Namibian debate.
In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday immediately after Geingob’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), Venaani said that it was a wrong approach to say that genocide is not a Namibian debate.
Responding to comments made by Venaani during the Sona's question and answer session that direct descendants of the 1904-1908 German genocide were excluded from negotiations between Namibia and Germany, Geingob said genocide issues become difficult if one says “Hereros and Namas were killed”.
“How about direct victims? On a sensitive issue like that, how are you going to pack from your house and go to Germany and ask for payment or reparation?” Geingob asked.
The president explained the issue of genocide and reparation becomes difficult when one speaks of 'Namas and Hereros' killed during the German genocide; “however if one says Namibians were killed, it becomes a government issue”.
Geingob also stated that genocide was a post-World War Two phenomenon, and so far no one approached the Namibian Government with a definition of what they mean by genocide and reparation.
He also indicated that he appointed long-serving Ambassador Zed Ngavirue as the special envoy to lead deliberations with the German Government.
The president added that although no one could dispute Ngavirue's credentials, he thought the appointment would have been welcomed with open arms.
“The way they (non-state actors) are doing things looks like they are not serious,” he said.
Venaani could, however, not conquer with Geingob, saying that “non-state actors (direct descendants) should be backed by state actors to engage the country”.
He said that if social benefits come to Namibia while denying that Namas and Hereros were explicitly killed under the German genocide means that they would miss out on those benefits.
The issue of genocide reparations was last week debated in the NA, splitting MPs between differences of opinion.
Venaani and some Members of Parliament (MPs) could not reach consensus on whether direct descendants of the 1904-1908 German genocide were represented in reparation negotiations between Namibia and Germany.
The DTA president felt that direct descendants or those affected by the genocide were excluded from the negotiation process between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the ruling party's MPs felt that descendants of the genocide were not “state actors” and could not act on behalf of the state, thus negotiations had to be done by the state through an appointed person who was affected by the genocide too.