Hope for rival genocide groups to reconcile

18 Apr 2016 18:20pm
VAALGRAS, 18 APR (NAMPA) – The secretary of the OvaHerero-OvaMbanderu Council for Dialogue on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904) says the public should “influence” the differing genocide committees to reconcile in their fight for reparations.
Confident that the two groups would one day “speak with one voice,” Ueriuka Tjikuua says once the two groups realise that both want the same thing (reparations from the German Government), a coordinated process of negotiations will begin.
The two groups, OCD-1904 led by Acting Chief Gerson Kunomundu Katjirua and the OvaHerero Genocide Foundation led by Chief Vekuii Rukoro, reportedly differ on issues of legitimacy, leadership and involvement of the Namibian Government.
Tjikuua said his group believes that the only way for reparation talks is through Government together with affected communities, while Rukoro’s view is that Government cannot be trusted.
Tjikuua was responding to a journalist on Sunday at the end of the seventh OCD-1904 summit, who asked whether the public could in future expect the two divided groups to reunite.
The event, hosted by Chief Joël Stephanus at Vaalgras over the weekend, brought together 12 traditional authorities who took five resolutions, one being “to unite and cooperate with other affected communities”.
“We are not saying we are the only ones affected by the genocide. The historical facts are available so others claiming to be affected can also come forward and state their case.”
The spokesman said there was no space and time for “immature views” in reparation talks as it hampered negotiations.
“Why should we fight among each other? There is still time for us all to negotiate with our government before discussions start with Germany and there is still time to talk between us to come up with one position,” he said.
The third group demanding compensation from the German Government is the Nama Genocide Technical Committee led by Ida Hoffmann.
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 and traditional authorities have been hard at pushing for repatriation talks between Namibia and the European state.